U.S. and Chinese officials will begin talks on Monday aimed at resolving their damaging trade dispute.
Ross's remarks emphasized President Donald Trump's confidence that the robust U.S. economy means Washington can outlast Beijing in a test of wills over trade.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said American and Chinese envoys will have "positive and constructive discussions" during meetings Monday and Tuesday.
Ministry spokesman Lu said Monday during a routine briefing that Chinese military aircraft and naval vessels were dispatched to identify the USA vessel and warn it to leave the area near disputed islands in the South China Sea.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in December agreed to put on hold a spiraling trade dispute of tit-for-tat import tariffs on hundreds of billions worth of goods. "Their economy's not doing well", Trump told reporters at the White House before boarding the Marine One presidential helicopter.
The USS McCampbell has carried out a "freedom of navigation" operation, sailing within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Island chain, in the South China Sea "to challenge excessive maritime claims", Reuters reported quoting Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Rachel McMarr's statement.
US Deputy Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish is to lead the delegation that is to meet with Chinese counterparts starting today.
"Next week's negotiations are important because they will establish expectations", said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of worldwide affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce.
"As for whether the Chinese economy is good or not, I have already explained this". Mnuchin told Bloomberg News in December that the USA was "confirming the logistics of several meetings" that could be held with China during the forum.
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But within a few hours, government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told AFP: "Calm has returned, the situation is under control". AU chief Moussa Faki Mahamat, in a tweet, said his organisation "strongly condemns the coup attempt" in Gabon .
Financial markets were being lifted early on Monday on expectations that the direct negotiations would lead to an easing in tensions between the two sides.
Trump has imposed tariffs to pressure Beijing to change its practices on issues ranging from corporate espionage to market access and industrial subsidies.
China's stridently nationalist Global Times tabloid said in an editorial late on Sunday that statements from both sides that they hoped to reach a deal were cause for optimism, but that Beijing would not cave in to US demands. China has said it could consider a deal that involves increasing its purchases of United States goods.
But analysts say the 90-day postponement of additional tariff increases is too little time to settle all the disputes that bedevil the two sides' relations, arguing that they face potentially lengthy wrangling over technology and the future of their economic relationship.
"China's economy is significantly slowing down, and the USA stock market is declining quickly".
"If China was going to raise the white flag, it would have done it already", the paper said. American officials worry those might erode U.S. industrial leadership.
"I think we will make a deal with China".
Chinese growth fell to a post-global crisis low of 6.5 percent in the quarter ending in September. Trump said on Friday he wasn't concerned about Apple's revenue warning.
The trade war has damaged both economies over the past year.