Sep 23, 2018 06:32 UTC
  • China summons US ambassador over military sanctions

China’s Foreign Ministry has summoned US Ambassador to Beijing Terry Branstad over Washington's move to impose sanctions against a Chinese military agency and its director for buying Russian fighter jets and missiles.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang on Saturday summoned Branstad and "lodged solemn representations over US sanctions against (the) Chinese military," the People's Daily said in a brief report online.

The US State Department imposed the sanctions on Thursday against the Equipment Development Department (EED) – the branch of the military responsible for weapons procurement – for engaging in “significant transactions” with Russia’s major weapons exporter, Rosoboronexport.

The sanctions are aimed at blocking the EED and its director, Li Shangfu, from the possibility of applying for export licenses and participating in the US financial system.

According to the US State Department, the sanctions on Beijing are linked to its decision to purchase 10 Russian SU-35 fighter jets in 2017 as well as S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment in 2018.

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian on Saturday slammed Washington’s sanctions, saying the US has “no right to interfere” in relations between two sovereign countries.

In a statement, he warned that the US would face “consequences” if it did not immediately revoke the bans, saying, “The US approach is a blatant violation of the basic norms of international relations, a full manifestation of hegemony, and a serious breach of the relations between the two countries and their two militaries.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said on Friday that the US was playing unfairly and imposing sanctions on buyers of Russian weapons and on people associated with the Russian military in order to squeeze out competitors in the global arms market.

"This is unfair competition, dishonest competition, an attempt to use non-market methods that run counter to norms and principles of international trade to squeeze the main competitor of US makers out of the markets," Peskov said.