The United States imposed sanctions on the Chinese military on Thursday for breaching a sweeping U.S. sanctions law punishing Moscow for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election with buying Russian missile systems and fighter jets, The Guardian reports.
In Beijing, the Chinese government expressed anger and demanded the sanctions be withdrawn.
The U.S. State Department said it would immediately impose sanctions on China’s Equipment Development Department (EDD), the military branch responsible for weapons and equipment, and its director, Li Shangfu, for engaging in “significant transactions” with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s main arms exporter.
The sanctions are related to China’s purchase of 10 SU-35 combat aircraft in 2017 and S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment in 2018, the State Department said.
They block the Chinese agency, and Li, from applying for export licenses and participating in the U.S. financial system.
Beijing on Friday urged the United States to withdraw sanctions or “bear the consequences.”
“The U.S. actions have seriously violated the basic principles of international relations and seriously damaged the relations between the two countries and the two militaries,” said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, adding Beijing had lodged an official protest with the United States.
“We strongly urge the U.S. to immediately correct their mistake and withdraw their so-called sanctions, otherwise the U.S. will have to bear the consequences.”
U.S. officials said it was the first time a third country has been punished under the CAATSA sanctions legislation for dealing with Russia, signaling Donald Trump’s administration will risk relations with other countries in its campaign against Moscow.
Moscow said Washington was rocking global stability and said sarcastically that placing sanctions on Russia has become Washington’s favorite “pastime.”
“It would be good for them to remember there is such a concept as global stability which they are thoughtlessly undermining by whipping up tensions in Russian-American ties,” said Ryabkov.
“Playing with fire is silly, it can become dangerous,” he said in a statement.