‘Manifestation of hegemony’: China slams US sanctions over its Russian arms deal
China has hit back at US attempts to force it out of multiple billion-dollar arms deals with Russia, with a defense spokesperson stating that Washington has “no right to interfere” in the dealings of two sovereign states.
Wu Qian’s comments come after the US State Department imposed sanctions on Thursday against Beijing’s defense procurement agency, the Equipment Development Department (EED), for its “significant transactions” with Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport.
“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,” Wu said in a notice posted on the Chinese Defense Ministry’s official Wechat account, Reuters reports.
Reiterating a demand made by the foreign ministry on Friday, Wu warned that Washington would face “consequences” if it doesn’t revoke the sanctions immediately.
China’s EED was added to the sanctions list alongside 33 Russian defense and intelligence officials and entities. The Kremlin called the sanctions an attempt by the US to squeeze its main competitor out of competing arms markets.
The US restrictions on China were triggered by two major arms deals agreed between China and Russia – a 2017 agreement for 10 Su-35 fighter aircraft, and a 2018 deal to supply the S-400 air defense system.
Beijing seems to be the first export customer of the S-400 to be slapped with US sanctions over its planned purchase of the system after months of failure by Washington to persuade allies to drop interest in similar deals.
NATO member Turkey has regularly refused to adhere to US demands to drop its S-400 purchase. India – a long-time buyer of Soviet defense equipment and a market Western arms firms are seeking to dominate – has also refused to drop its S-400 deal despite hints that it could result in sanctions.
Even markets long dominated by the US are looking more at Russian-made equipment, with Saudi Arabia and Qatar also mulling a purchase of the system.
Speaking to Russian media this week, Saudi Ambassador Raid bin Khalid Krimli quipped: “I hope nobody will impose any sanctions on us,” upon announcing that Moscow and Riyadh were discussing technical details over the deal.
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