China urges USA to withdraw sanctions or face 'consequences'

Capitol Hill in Washington DC. The committee held a hearing on

China has become less of an arms client and more of a cutting-edge defence technology partner with Russian Federation since it started developing more of its own weapons, military observers say.

China said Friday it was "outraged" over US economic sanctions against a Chinese military agency and its director over the purchase of Russian fighter jets and surface-to-air missile equipment.

It also adds them to the Treasury Department's list of specially designated individuals with whom Americans are barred from doing business.

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]".

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing had lodged stern complaints with Washington over the action, which triggers a ban on entering the US, forbids conducting transactions with the USA financial system and forces the blocking of all property and interests in property within US jurisdiction. "We strongly urge the U.S.to immediately correct the mistakes and withdraw the so-called sanctions, otherwise the USA must bear the consequences". We took these actions because China took delivery of 10 Sukhoi fighter aircraft, specifically Su-25s, in December of 2017, after the CAATSA statute came into force.

Beijing has not joined in the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the U.S. and its Western allies since 2014. The relation between Washington and Moscow also deteriorated due to alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

A federal special counsel is leading a criminal investigation of Russian interference in the USA election, and any possible cooperation with Trump's presidential campaign.

Trump has insisted there was no collusion with Russian Federation. Moscow denies any effort to meddle in USA politics.

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One U.S. administration official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said the sanctions imposed on the Chinese agency were aimed at Moscow, not Beijing or its military, despite an escalating trade war between the United States and China.

Washington is not introducing any new sanctions against the blacklisted individuals or organizations, though many of them were targets of previous USA restrictions.

"CAATSA sanctions in this context are not meant to undermine the defence capabilities of any particular country", the official said. "But rather to impose costs on Russian Federation in response to its interference in the United States election process, its unacceptable behaviour in eastern Ukraine, and other malign activities".

"Each new round of sanctions proves our foe's complete lack of success in pressuring Russian Federation with previous such attempts", Ryabkov said according to the Reuters news agency. However, under strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it has more recently grown closer to Russian Federation - including ordering the very same S-400s that landed China in hot water this week.

Security analysts in Asia said the move was largely symbolic and would only push Moscow and Beijing closer together.

"China bought 24 Su-35s because the People's Liberation Army needs long-range fighter jets to deploy in the South China Sea", Zhou said.

"The US actions have seriously violated the basic principles of worldwide relations and seriously damaged the relations between the two countries and the two militaries", Geng said. "It appears that it has become a sort of national pastime there", Ryabkov said. China, which relies on technology for its military modernisation has stepped up its military ties with Russian Federation.

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