By Yawen Chen and Ben Blanchard
BEIJING (Reuters) – China is willing to resolve its trade dispute with the US through "calm" negotiations and resolutely opposes escalation of the conflict, Vice Premier Liu He, who has led talks with Washington, said Monday.
The increasingly bitter trade war between the world's two largest economies escalated sharply on Friday, with both sides leveling more tariffs on each other's exports.
US President Donald Trump announced a $ 550 billion surcharge of targeted Chinese goods on Friday, hours after China unveiled a $ 75 billion US dollar retaliation duty.
However, on Sunday, Trump appeared to support his threat to command US companies outside China.
Liu spoke at a technology conference in southwestern China's Chongqing, saying no one had the benefit of a trade war.
"We are willing to solve the problem through consultations and cooperation in a calm attitude and resolutely counter the escalation of the trade war," said Liu, who is President Xi Jinping's chief economic adviser, according to a government statement. [1[ads1]9659004] "We believe that the escalation of the trade war is not beneficial to China, the United States, nor to the interests of the world's people," he added.
US companies are particularly welcome in China and will be treated well, Liu said.
"We welcome companies from all over the world, including the United States, to invest and operate in China," he added.
"We will continue to create a good investment environment, protect intellectual property rights, promote the development of smart intelligent industries with our open market, resolutely oppose technological blockages and protectionism, and strive to protect the completeness of the supply chain."
It was not clear how Trump could make US companies leave China.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Trump could order companies out of China under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act if he declared a national crisis.
The trade war has damaged global growth, upset allies and raised market fears that the world economy will tap into a recession.
Global stock markets weakened on Monday following recent measures, while China's yuan currency fell to a new 11-year low. Investors poured into safe havens of sovereign bonds and gold.
Chinese state media blew up the United States on Monday.
The official China Daily said in an editorial that Washington would "never be allowed to control China's destiny".  "It has become unequivocally clear that his administration's tariff war against China is politically motivated. What Washington wants from its biggest trading partner is that it should be content to play other fouls and mildly do as it requires," it the English language paper wrote in an editorial.
"Washington has again taken the initiative to escalate the fight in hopes that Beijing will throw in the sponge as soon as possible. But Beijing views the trade war as an inevitable trial the country will emerge stronger."
The Global Times, a widely read tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, said leaving the Chinese market would be "suicide" for US corporations, especially for car companies.
"US companies are welcome to invest and operate in the Chinese market, but if some US companies want to obey Trump's order and participate in Washington's trade war, the result is bleak. A decision to relinquish the Chinese market is only suicide, "the editorial says.