China is taking a conciliatory approach to trade relations with the United States a day after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's pick for commerce secretary described the world's second-largest economy as the "most protectionist of very large countries."
Beijing's commerce ministry spokesman Sun Jiwen said Thursday the "Chinese government is willing to cooperate with the new administration of the United States to develop solid commercial ties."
"I hope that negotiations between China and the United States will be able to sufficiently resolve the controversy," the spokesman added.
Ross also said the United States should provide market access only to countries who "agree to play by our standards of fair trade."
The commerce secretary candidate voiced support for tariffs, saying they can "play a role both as a negotiating tool and, if necessary, to punish offenders who don't play by the rules."
Beijing did not directly address Ross' statements, opting instead to take a more positive approach to current trade ties.
"Even now, commercial relations between China and the United States are not so removed from the path of mutual benefit," Sun said, according to South Korean news service EDaily. "If we cooperate with each other, everyone can profit, but brewing conflict will only create more hurt for both sides."
Beijing's state tabloid Global Times took a different approach from the official position.
In an editorial published Thursday, the newspaper criticized the United States.
"The U.S. certainly has a stronger economy than China, and China can be damaged when the two countries collide," the statement read. "But China can also push the United States into stagnation."
The editorial stated China is the largest importer of U.S. cotton, wheat, soybeans and "Boeing aircraft."
Trump's team is "overlooking the ability of China to retaliate against the United States," the newspaper stated.