China has the ability and confidence to withstand any challenges to its economic development caused by its trade war with the US, President Xi Jinping told Russian media ahead of a state visit to Moscow. Speaking on Tuesday to the state-owned newspaper Russian Gazette and news agency Tass, Xi said that despite global growth having slowed since the start of the year, China had achieved a steady expansion, Xinhua reported. “We totally have the resources, ability and confidence to cope with the various risks and challenges [of the trade war],” Xi said, adding that the country’s economic expansion had been “steady and good” and would remain so in the long term. Xi, who begins a state visit to Russia on Wednesday, including a meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow, said that improvements to China’s economic structure had boosted efficiency and provided the platform for stable expansion. We totally have the resources, ability and confidence to cope with the various risks and challenges [of the trade war] Xi Jinping The country was home to the world’s largest middle class population, which created vast demand, he said, adding that domestic consumption now accounted for more than 76 per cent of economic growth. Xi’s upbeat comments came after Beijing on Sunday released a white paper laying out its official position on the trade war in which it placed the blame for the breakdown in negotiations firmly with Washington. The office of the US Trade Representative and US Treasury Department issued a joint statement on Monday rejecting Beijing assertions, saying the talks ended because China had refused to accept a US demand to include an enforcement mechanism in the deal. Exactly when negotiations might resume is unclear, but a US treasury official told reporters on Tuesday that there were no plans for bilateral discussions on the sidelines of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors’ meeting in Japan this weekend. The person said also that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had no plans to visit Beijing either before or after the G20 ministerial meeting. Despite Xi’s confidence, China is grappling with its slowest economic growth in nearly three decades, with the trade war dimming the outlook, raising questions about the vulnerability of Chinese businesses and capital markets, and eroding investor confidence. The Chinese economy grew 6.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, unchanged from the final three months of last year. But growth in industrial production and retail sales slowed sharply in April, according to official figures. The data came before the US raised the tariff rate on US$200 billion of Chinese imports to 25 per cent from 10 per cent, which will put further downward pressure on the economy. According to Japanese investment bank Nomura, a shift in supply chains in China to escape the fallout from the trade war will shave 0.5 per cent from the nation’s gross domestic product this year.