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China hits back at American sanctions over Russian fighter jet and missile purchases

Chinese foreign ministry says United States will have to bear the consequences of violating basic norms of international relations

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 September, 2018, 4:06pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 September, 2018, 4:19pm

China has protested over the US’ “unreasonable” decision to slap punitive sanctions on a Chinese military unit for buying Russian fighter jets and surface-to-air missile equipment.

“China expressed strong indignation towards the unreasonable move by the United States, and has made solemn representation,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Friday.

“The US has seriously violated the basic norms of international relations and disturbed the relationship between China and the US. We strongly call on the US to remedy the mistake and cancel the sanctions. Otherwise, the US has to bear the consequences.”

US slaps sanctions on Chinese military unit for buying Russian jets, missiles

The protest was in response to Washington’s announcement that the Chinese defence ministry’s Equipment Development Department (EDD) violated US sanctions on Russia by buying the jets and missile equipment. Both the EDD and its director, Li Shangfu, were named in the sanctions.

The US Department of State said the sanctions were invoked under Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 “for engaging in significant transactions with persons on the [List of Specified Persons]”.

The transactions involved the purchase of Russian Su-35 combat aircraft and S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment.

Under the sanctions, the EDD will be denied US foreign export licences, banned from making foreign exchange transactions within US jurisdictions and prohibited from using the US financial system. Any of the EDD’s property and interests within US control will be blocked.

Similar restrictions apply to Li, who will also not be able to get a US visa.

What Russian weapons are being bought by China?

Geng said China would continue defence cooperation and development of strategic ties with Russia.

“The cooperation between China and Russia is aimed at helping the two nations protect their legitimate interest and maintain regional peace and stability. It does not violate international laws or target at any third party,” he said.