"In the event of a trade war, China will make proper and necessary responses", Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a Thursday news conference, on the sidelines of China's annual legislative session.
"Some Americans allege that China will replace America's role in the world".
Wang pointed to what he said were several already very successful Belt and Road-linked projects, including building power plants in Pakistan and China's operation of Greece's largest port at Piraeus.
Such a move aims to counter cheap imports, especially from China, that Trump says undermine United States industry and jobs.
Follow Trend on Telegram.
"Although the "China Threat Theory" has now been reprinted, it's even less persuasive because facts speak louder than words", Wang said, citing China's economic growth and contributions to world peace at the United Nations.
The impact of the proposed USA tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum makers is ultimately expected to be small.
China's global trade surplus widened to 33.7 billion dollars (£28 billion) from January's 20.3 billion dollars (£14 billion).
Trade tensions have jumped to the top of the list of risks facing China this year, with proposed us tariffs on steel and aluminium imports suggesting more measures may be on the way, Zhou Hao, senior emerging markets economist at Commerzbank, told the Reuters Global Markets Forum this week.
Alexandre Desplat wins 2nd Oscar and thanks his Greek mother
At the top of the show, Kimmel joked in his opening monologue that the victor with the shortest acceptance speech would win a Jet Ski.
But global leaders became particularly concerned when, last week, Trump announced that "trade wars are good".
United States imports from China of these two goods make up a small proportion of its total imports from the world's second largest economy.
A Politico reporter tweeted Wednesday that the administration may be 'eyeing tariffs on more than 100 Chinese products as well as investment restrictions'. Remarkably, questions either directly targeting or indirectly involving U.S. - China relations almost dominated the whole press conference.
Beijing has accused Mr Trump of threatening the global trade regulation system by taking action under U.S. law instead of through the World Trade Organisation.
Wang's remarks about Xi stirred up memories of the Mao era - when China actively spread its ideology to other countries despite its own citizens' adversity at home.
In coming weeks, the Trump administration is expected to issue a report on intellectual property theft which may hammer China and possibly incite further tariffs on a wide range of Chinese imports.
The surplus with the USA stood at $21 billion in February, China's official data showed, more than double the $10.4 billion surplus registered in February of a year ago. "But there are few alternative sources for the main products the USA buys from China", the research firm said in a note on Wednesday.
Trade data are distorted by the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls at different times in January or February each year.