China urges US to withdraw sanctions against its companies over N. Korea
The sanctions were imposed by the US Treasury on Tuesday. They affect 16 mainly Chinese and Russian individuals and companies over alleged “support of the North Korean regime” and assisting Pyongyang in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
“China opposes the imposition of unilateral sanctions outside the framework of the UN Security Council, especially the ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ imposed on Chinese entities or individuals by other countries in accordance with their domestic laws. Our position is clear and consistent,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a regular press briefing.
Beijing has always conducted a “comprehensive and earnest implementation” of the UNSC resolutions, the spokeswoman stated, adding that China would punish anyone caught violating the sanctions under Chinese law.
The unilateral US actions contribute neither to solving problems on the Korean Peninsula, nor to Sino-US trust, the spokeswoman said, adding that Beijing has urged Washington to drop the sanctions.
One of the Chinese companies hit by the new US sanctions, Dandong Rich Earth Trading Co., has firmly rejected the allegations of violating the UNSC resolutions. The US Treasury accused the company of purchasing vanadium ore from North Korea.
“We did not import vanadium ore from North Korea. We imported products based on vanadium and refined from coal impurities. This product was not under sanctions. That’s why we’ve been able to register respective import with the Chinese customs services,” Li Xiaoguang, a manager at the company, told RIA Novosti, dismissing the accusations that the company’s business helped Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.
He said the company “would have never been able to import sanctioned materials from North Korea, since they would not have passed through the Chinese customs,” the company representative added.
Earlier, reacting to the same round of sanctions targeting a Russian company and four individuals, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov expressed disappointment and warned Washington of “retaliatory measures that are inevitable in this situation.”
“Against this deplorable backdrop, statements by US representatives about a desire to stabilize bilateral ties sound highly unconvincing,” Ryabkov said in a statement on Tuesday. “We have always advocated and will continue to advocate efforts to resolve our existing differences through dialogue. Over the past few years, Washington should have grasped the idea that we consider the language of sanctions to be unacceptable, and that such actions only hamper the resolution of real problems. So far, however, it appears that they have failed to comprehend these obvious truths.”
Senior Russian Senator Andrey Klimov said that the sanctions lack legitimacy.
“These sanctions are illegal in themselves, because the only thing recognized by international law is the sanctions of the UN Security Council,” Klimov told Interfax. “We must react in principle to this insane and confrontational policy. The toolbox is rich, let’s hope that we will act consistently, reasonably, professionally and effectively.”