China responds to US sanctions threat
China will protect its companies and people who have come under threat of US sanctions over trading with Russia, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, commenting on Washington’s warnings.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Beijing “will take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and individuals.”
The Chinese official reiterated his government’s criticism of unilateral sanctions, saying they have no basis in international law and only cause “serious difficulties to the economy and people’s livelihood” in targeted nations instead of fostering peace and security.
Washington should “take China’s concerns seriously” when implementing its restrictions against Russia so that they don’t “harm China’s rights and interests in any way,” Zhao warned.
The US imposed a ban on the export of advanced semiconductors to Russia in response to Moscow’s military attack against Ukraine. The ban targets not only American companies but also foreign firms which use American software and technologies in production. Nations like South Korea, which want to continue their exports to Russia, have to apply for special exemptions or face Washington’s wrath.
In an interview with the New York Times, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo warned that her government could “essentially shut” down any Chinese company that defies American sanctions. The secretary singled out China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation as facing potential punishment for flouting its Russia ban.
Unlike US allies in Europe and elsewhere, China has refused to condemn Russia for its attack against Ukraine. Beijing agreed with Moscow’s assessment that NATO’s unchecked expansion in Eastern Europe and the failure to address Russia’s national security concerns paved the way to the current crisis.