China, Russia warn U.S. to withdraw sanctions on military
22 September, 2018, 02:00 | Author: Carlos George
Pompeo, in consultation with Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, imposed sanctions on the Chinese military's Equipment Development Department and its director, Li Shangfu, for purchasing Su-35 combat aircraft and a S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russian Federation.
From a USA perspective, the problem was that Beijing bought these components from Russia's state arms export agency, which was already on a US blacklist.
In another move, the U.S. reportedly ordered Chinese official state-run news agency Xinhua and the China Global Television Network (CGTN), to register as foreign agents under the Nazi-era Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Beijing's angry response came hours later.
China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang made the comments at a daily news briefing in Beijing.
"We strongly urge the USA side to immediately correct the mistake and rescind the so-called sanctions, otherwise the USA side will necessarily bear responsibility for the consequences", he said, without giving details.
It did not specify what these consequences might be.
Despite China being named in the measures, "the ultimate target of these sanctions is Russian Federation", a senior Trump administration official said Thursday.
But the arms lobby in USA also appears intent on using this opportunity to wean New Delhi away from Russian armaments and make a pitch for United States arms, even as officials assure that sanctions are not meant to undermine the defense capabilities of any country.
Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 American presidential election and military involvement in Syria's ongoing civil war increased tensions.
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Administration officials said they hoped the action against EDD would send a message to others considering buying the S-400.
With the same pen-stroke, the USA also blacklisted another 33 Russians who it said have been working for or on behalf of Russian defense or intelligence services. The S-400 contract between China and Russia is expected to be signed during a summit meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for October 5.
Washington has expressed concern that Turkey's planned deployment of the S-400s could pose a risk to the security of some US -made weapons and other technology used by Turkey, including the F-35 fighter jet.
China has "normal" military exchanges and cooperation with Russian Federation, aimed at protecting regional peace and stability, which is not against worldwide law or aimed at any third party, Geng added.
Turkey is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and traditionally an ally of the West. It is regarded as a key part of China's Central Military Commission (CMC), the overall high command of the Chinese military headed by Xi.
USA officials said the imposition of penalties on China was the first time that a third-party country was punished under CAATSA and suggested the White House could use the law in the future against countries purchasing equipment from Russian Federation.
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