DonateOn September 20th, the Trump Administration imposed sanctions on the Chinese military for buying Russian fighter jets and missiles. This is the latest action to punish Russia for allegedly meddling in the 2016 elections, as well as the latest escalation in Chinese-US relations amid their trade war. China responded strongly to the sanctions on the arms deal.
As reported by RT, Beijing has threatened that Washington will face “consequences” if it doesn’t withdraw the recent batch of sanctions against China over military cooperation with Russia.
“We strongly call on the US to remedy the mistake and cancel the sanctions. Otherwise, the US has to bear the consequences,” spokesperson Geng Shuang said as cited by Chinese media. The US’ measures will not, however, affect Sino-Russian strategic cooperation, which will only further grow, Geng stated.
Washington said that the purchases by the Equipment Development Department (EDD) of China’s Ministry of Defence violated US sanctions on Russia. Both the EDD and its director, Li Shangfu, have been named in the sanctions.
China received 10 Su-35s in December 2017 and a first batch of S-400 missile system-related equipment this year, the statement said. Both the jets and missiles were procured from Rosoboronexport, the Russian state-owned arms exporter. “Both transactions resulted from pre-August 2, 2017, deals negotiated between EDD and Rosoboronexport (ROE), Russia’s main arms export entity,” the statement added.
An unnamed official, cited by the South China Morning Post, during a conference call with reports said that “the ultimate target of these sanctions is Russia.” He also added that the sanctions “in this context are not intended to undermine the defence capabilities of any particular country. They are instead aimed at imposing costs upon Russia in response to its malign activities.”
In a news release, the US Department of State 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].
The sanctions will deny EDD any foreign export licences, prohibit it from making foreign exchange transactions within US jurisdiction or using the US financial system, and block its property and interests within US control.
“Section 231 of CAATSA and today’s actions are not intended to undermine the military capabilities or combat readiness of any country, but rather to impose costs on Russia in response to its interference in the United States election process, its unacceptable behaviour in eastern Ukraine, and other malign activities,” the statement said.
When asked about the sanctions’ possible impact on US-China military relations, Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan was cited by the South China Morning Post as saying that “the Department of Defense won’t speculate on potential impacts these sanctions could have on mil-mil relations.”
It’s intersting to note that being a leader of the “global world”, the US is de-facto fueling regionalism by its own actions. Attempting to pressure independent actors, Washington is forcing them to unite in order to resist the US pressure.
The September 20 move was the second time in the previous two weeks that the US government sanctions entities and individuals related to China. On September 14th, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced sanctions against web design and app development companies in China that are owned and managed by North Koreans. epresentative Ed Royce, the California Republican who is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the those companies used “slave labour” to help further Pyongyang’s weapons programme.
The Treasury identified Yanbian Silverstar Network Technology Company of Jilin, China, also known as China Silver Star; its North Korean chief executive Jong Song Hwa; and a sister company, Volasys Silver Star of Vladivostok, Russia, as part of this scheme.
Regarding Russian arms deals, an unnamed US official, cited by the Financial Times, said the Trump administration hoped that the EDD sanctions would send a message to other potential buyers of Russian arms. The US is concerned that India and Turkey, two American allies, could make similar purchases of Russian weapons, particularly the S-400 surface-to-air missile system.
The unnamed official said the administration had not made any decisions about the potential purchase of the S-400 system by other countries, but that it had spent “an enormous amount of time” considering the issue.
Turkey and India might be susceptible to sanctions, however US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis successfully lobbied Congress to introduce waivers that Donald Trump could use to exempt allies from them on a case-by-case basis.