22 Sep, 2018FORTUNE.COM
China has told the Trump administration to remove punitive sanctions against its military, or “bear the consequences.”
Friday’s vague threat comes just a day after the U.S. sanctioned the Chinese military’s Equipment Development Department and its director for buying military aircraft and missiles from Russia, CNN reports.
An anonymous senior administration official called the sanctions “a significant step,” as they are the first sanctions resulting from a new federal law that requires punishment of anyone who does business with certain blacklisted Russian intelligence and military organizations and individuals. The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act was passed as a way to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, however, said the sanctions “seriously violated the basic norms of international relations and seriously damaged the relations between China and the United States,” NBC News reports.
“We strongly urge the U.S. to immediately correct the mistakes and withdraw the so-called sanctions,” he said Friday, “otherwise the U.S. must bear the consequences.”
The U.S. maintains that “the ultimate target” of these sanctions is Russia, not China. While implementing the sanctions, Washington also added 33 Russians to the blacklist, bringing the total number to 72.
“Today’s actions are not intended to undermine the military capabilities or combat readiness of any country,” the State Department said in a statement Thursday, “but rather to impose costs on Russia in response to its interference in the United States election process, its unacceptable behavior in eastern Ukraine, and other malign activities.”
Russia also responded to Thursday’s sanctions, saying the U.S. is “playing with fire,” Al Jazeera reports.
“This is unfair competition, dishonest competition, an attempt to use non-market methods that that run counter to norms and principles of international trade to squeeze the main competitor of US makers out of the markets,” said President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, according to Al Jazeera.