China warns it will not bow down to the United States

A Chinese woman adjusts a Chinese flag near US flags before the start of a Strategic Dialogue expanded meeting between China and the US during the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue held at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on July 10, 2014. The US and China discussed trade and business concerns on July 10 -- with currencies and property rights among the thorny issues on the agenda -- as the world's two biggest economies held wide-ranging annual talks. AFP PHOTO / POOL (NG HAN GUAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Chinese minister also recalled that China "does not want a trade war, but will rise up to it should it break out."

China has warned it will not cave in to US demands even if Washington imposes further tariffs on Chinese goods, signaling that the trade war between the two countries is likely to escalate.

"There is a view in the US that so long as the US keeps increasing tariffs, China will back down. They do not know the history and culture of China," China"s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said in a written statement to Bloomberg.

"This unyielding nation suffered foreign bullying for many times in history, but never succumbed to it even in the most difficult conditions," Zhong said.

The Chinese minister also recalled that China "does not want a trade war, but will rise up to it should it break out."

"The US should not underestimate China's resolve and will," Zhong said.

This is China's strongest response yet to Donald Trump's decision to impose tariffs on nearly half of the Chinese exports to the United States.

Zhong Shan's statement comes just days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Beijing, where he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Wang said the United States had hurt "mutual trust" and should stop "misguided actions" against China, while Pompeo said there were "fundamental disagreements" between the two countries.

The US accused China of forcing foreign companies to transfer technology while protecting domestic firms from foreign competition.

But Zhong Shan reiterated that China does not steal technology.

"I want to emphasize that China's laws and regulations do not contain any requirement for technology transfer and that companies' purchases of technologies and patents are pure market behavior," he said.

The minister said that "China's economic development and scientific and technological progress are due to the reforms and opening up [of the country] and the endeavors of the Chinese people."

But the conflict between the two countries has recently gone beyond trade, with Trump accusing China of trying to interfere in the 2018 US midterm elections.

Last week, US Vice President Mike Pence also accused Beijing of using "every tool at its disposal" to undermine the US political system.