China warns US to withdraw military sanctions or ‘bear consequences’

The US State Department said it was placing financial sanctions on a Chinese military organisation for the recent purchase of Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to-air missiles.

Updated: Sep 21, 2018 15:33:00

By Sutirtho Patranobis

A US flag is seen during a welcoming ceremony in Beijing, China (Reuters File Photo)

Beijing on Friday told the US to be ready to “bear the consequences” if Washington didn’t remove the sanctions it has imposed on a key Chinese military agency, set up by President Xi Jinping recently, for buying Russian weapons.

The US action violated the basic principles of international relations, the ministry of foreign affairs (MFA), Geng Shuang said.

“We strongly urge the US to immediately correct their mistake and withdraw their so-called sanctions, otherwise the US will have to bear the consequences,” Geng warned.

The US State Department said Thursday it was placing financial sanctions on the Equipment Development Department (EDD) of the Chinese Ministry of Defence recently purchasing Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to-air missiles.

The latest round of military sanctions by the US against China deepens the diplomatic hostility between the world’s two largest economies already grappling with the escalating tit-for-tat trade tariff war.

In a Thursday statement, the US State Department said that the sanctions had been invoked under Section 231 of Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA) “for engaging in significant transactions with persons on the [List of Specified Persons].

“These transactions involved Russia’s transfer to China of [Russian Sukhoi] Su-35 combat aircraft and S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment.”

China’s reaction was swift and sharp.

What made it more so was because the EDD was set up by Xi in 2016 under the Central Military Commission, the powerful Communist party body that controls the massive Chinese military apparatus.

The EDD’s primary aim is to improve China’s military tech and procurement.

“The Chinese side expresses strong indignation over the above-mentioned unreasonable practices of the US side,” Geng said at the regular MFA regular press briefing.

“The US actions have seriously violated the basic principles of international relations and seriously damaged the relations between the two countries and the two militaries,” Geng said.

According to agency reports, it was the first time a third country has been punished under the CAATSA sanctions legislation for dealing with Russia, and signalled the Trump administration’s will to risk relations with other countries in its campaign against Moscow.

When asked about the sanctions’ possible impact on US-China military relations, Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan told the South China Morning Post that “the Department of Defense won’t speculate on potential impacts these sanctions could have on mil-mil relations”.

Speculation on this new dispute won’t give out a pretty picture anyway.

First Published: Sep 21, 2018 15:02:39


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