China's finance chief lambasted GOP frontrunner Donald Trump as "irrational," The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, adding that the world's largest economy would forfeit its global leadership role if it adopted Trump's controversial trade policies.
Contending that America is being treated unfairly in its trade deals, the real estate billionaire has advocated slapping tariffs of up to 45 per cent on Chinese goods.
The US's trade deficit with China was more than US$57 billion as of February 2016, according to US Census bureau data, and totaled about US$366 billion (S$498 billion) in 2015.
Lou's blunt remarks were an uncharacteristic departure from the usual reticence of Chinese officials to comment on US election cycles. Up until now, China has sidestepped direct criticism of the US presidential contenders, yet finance minister Lou Jiwei told The Journal in an interview that Trump was an "irrational type." Lou added that tariffs would be a violation of the country's obligations under the World Trade Organisation.
Lou also stated that the US and China are "mutually dependent on each other", and that both economies would falter in the event of a trade war. For years, US politicians have railed against the country's currency policies, which they feel constitute an unfair trade advantage.
"Our economic cycles are intertwined," Lou told the publication. "We have a lot more in common than sets us apart."
A spokesperson for the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.