China has called on the United States to withdraw sanctions it imposed on a Chinese military agency for buying Russian weapons or ‘bear the consequences.’
Speaking to reporters Friday, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that Beijing had lodged an official protest with the United States.
‘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,’ Geng said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reacted Friday, saying the sanctions affecting Russian plane manufacturer Sukhoi are “yet another act of unfair competition” and also conjecturing the move ultimately would harm the U.S. dollar. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned the U.S. against “playing with fire.” And the Kremlin weighed in, as well, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying Friday the sanctions are an attempt by the U.S. to force out competitors in the global arms trade.
“We recommend that Washington’s operators of the sanctions machine at least superficially acquaint themselves with our history to stop going round in circles,” Ryabkov said.
Sanctions from election meddling
The U.S. imposed sanctions Thursday on a Chinese military agency for buying Russian weaponry in violation of U.S. sanctions on Russia.
The State Department said it would immediately penalize a unit of the Chinese military that oversees the country’s defense technology for executing transactions with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s main arms exporter.
China bought Russian Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to-air-missiles, the State Department said.
The purchases violate a 2017 U.S. sanctions law that is designed to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The law calls for the sanctioning of any third party that conducts a “significant transaction” with Russia’s defense industry.
The latest sanctions are the first time the U.S. has used sanctions to punish a buyer of Russian military weapons.