May 21, 2020 / 3:52 PM / 4 days ago

China will not flinch in face of U.S. confrontation: government official

FILE PHOTO: Zhang Yesui, a spokesman for National People's Congress (NPC), addresses reporters ahead of China's annual session of parliament at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 4, 2018. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will not flinch from any escalation in tensions with the United states, but believes economic cooperation and recovery should be the top priority, a Chinese government official said on Thursday.

Bilateral ties between China and the United States have soured as Washington has accused Beijing of mishandling the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and blamed it for job losses and business closures caused by the pandemic.

“China won’t start any trouble, but won’t flinch from trouble either,” Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the Chinese parliament, told reporters at a media briefing ahead of the start of the annual parliamentary session on Friday.

He said the United States would have much to lose and cooperation was the wise approach.

“Cooperation between China and the United States would only benefit both sides, while fighting would hurt each other,” he said. “Cooperation is the only correct choice.”

Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; writing by Ryan Woo; editing by Barbara Lewis

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