The newest round of sanctions the U.S. treasury imposed on 16 Chinese and Russian companies over their alleged support of the North Korean regime, prompted Beijing to respond by calling Washington to withdrew the measures which hurt its business interests.
“China opposes the imposition of unilateral sanctions outside the framework of the UN Security Council, especially the ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ imposed on Chinese entities or individuals by other countries in accordance with their domestic laws. Our position is clear and consistent,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said at a press briefing on Wednesday.
“China always implements the DPRK-related resolutions of the UN Security Council in their entirety and fulfills its due international obligations. Our efforts are there for all to see.”
“We urge the U.S. side to stop this wrongdoing and correct this immediately,” Chunying said.
Chinese companies affected by U.S. Treasury sanctions strongly denied any allegations of violating UN Security Council resolutions.
“We did not import vanadium ore from North Korea. We imported products based on vanadium and refined from coal impurities. This product was not under sanctions. That’s why we’ve been able to register respective import with the Chinese customs services,” said Dandong Rich Earth Trading Co manager Li Xiaoguang.
The UN Security Council adopted new sanctions against North Korean following a ICBM launch in July, which caused tensions between Pyongyang and Washington. Both China and Russia voted in favor of the U.S.-proposed resolution, even though they had previously vetoed similar proposals.
China agreed to put pressure on Pyongyang, in an effort to reduce tensions in the region, but U.S President Donald Trump accused China of not doing enough to rein in North Korea, and some circles in his administration adopted a hostile anti-Chinese rhetoric.
U.S sanctions against Chinese companies risk alienating Beijing. China’s role is vital in reducing the tensions on the Korean peninsula, but Trump’s regular criticism of China is risking to antagonize Beijing.
“From the Chinese perspective, these sanctions are ridiculous because those enterprises engaged with North Korea before the Security Council resolution,” said Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing. “China will not accept this kind of punishment.”
“Trump’s China strategy is that everything relates to China’s behavior on North Korea,” Shi said. “This could spoil the Sino-American relationship. It already has.”
Russian companies were also affected by new U.S. sanctions, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov expressed Moscow’s disapproval of U.S. actions.
“Against this deplorable backdrop, statements by US representatives about a desire to stabilize bilateral ties sound highly unconvincing,” he said.
“We have always advocated and will continue to advocate efforts to resolve our existing differences through dialogue. Over the past few years, Washington should have grasped the idea that we consider the language of sanctions to be unacceptable, and that such actions only hamper the resolution of real problems. So far, however, it appears that they have failed to comprehend these obvious truths.”
U.S. Congress passed a bill imposing additional sanctions on Russia over Moscow’s alleged interference in U.S. election, and Kremlin’s role in Ukraine and Syria.
Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of PRC