National Security & Defense

China Warns U.S. to Scrap Sanctions or ‘Bear the Consequences’

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a signing ceremony following the Russian-Chinese talks on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, September 11, 2018. (Alexander Ryumin/Reuters)

China has responded belligerently to new U.S. sanctions introduced in response to its purchase of weapons from Russia.

On Thursday, the Trump administration slapped sanctions on China’s Equipment Development Department, which coordinates defense technology, as retribution for the country’s purchase from Russia state arms exporter of ten Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets last year and several S-400 surface-to-air missiles from this year.

Beijing’s incensed response came hours later.

The sanctions have “seriously violated the basic norms of international relations and seriously damaged the relations between China and the United States,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters. “We strongly urge the U.S. to immediately correct the mistakes and withdraw the so-called sanctions, otherwise the U.S. must bear the consequences.”

The Chinese government also insisted that its arms deals with Russia have to do with the two countries’ efforts to promote peace and stability in the region.

China’s “significant transactions” with Russia’s state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, were problematic because Rosoboronexport was already blacklisted by the U.S. under a 2017 law aimed at punishing the Kremlin for election meddling and other “malign acts.”

“I want to emphasize that the ultimate target of these sanctions is Russia,” a senior administration official said Thursday, adding that the move is “not intended to take down the economy of third-party countries.”

“We hope that this step will send a signal of our seriousness and perhaps encourage others to think twice about their own engagement with the Russian defense and intelligence sectors,” the official added.

Besides sanctioning China on Thursday, the Trump administration also blacklisted 33 more individuals and entities involved in Russia’s military and intelligence agencies, prohibiting them from conducting “significant” military transactions.

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