Trump Administration Sanctions Chinese Military Branch for Purchasing Russian Military Equipment

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"The China-Russia military cooperation is normal cooperation between two sovereign states, and the USA side has no right to interfere", Zheng said.

The Defense Ministry said the USA had no right to interfere in Chinese military cooperation with Russian Federation and warned Saturday that the failure to revoke the sanctions would lead to unspecified consequences. The transactions include China's purchase of Russian fighter jets and a surface-to-air missile system.

Hours after United States issued new sanctions against Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned Washington that playing with fire was foolish and risky.

Earlier, the U.S. State Department had announced that it was placing sanctions on China's Equipment Development Department, the military branch responsible for weapons and equipment, and its director, Li Shangfu.

An "outraged" China on Friday lodged a diplomatic protest with the United States for imposing punitive sanctions on its military unit for buying Russian weapons, warning of "consequences" if the sanctions are not revoked.

Russian Federation was sanctioned a year ago as a retaliation against its military actions in Ukraine and Syria, along with its alleged cyber-interference in the 2016 American presidential election. The U.S. actions, it said, "have seriously damaged the relations" with China.

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The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act was passed as a way to punish Russian Federation for meddling in the 2016 USA elections.

Zheng said the sanctions severely violate basic norms governing worldwide relations.

The sanctions were enacted "to further impose costs on the Russian government in response to its malign activities", it said. "Otherwise, the US side will have to bear all the consequences". The sanctions are expected to heighten tensions between the U.S. and China, which are now engaged in a trade war.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that China had planned to send Vice Premier Liu He to Washington next week for trade talks, but canceled his trip, along with that of a midlevel delegation that was to precede him.

"We strongly urge the USA to immediately correct their mistake and withdraw their so-called sanctions, otherwise the United States will have to bear the consequences".

The official said the move against the Chinese agency was not discretionary, but was made because Beijing broke US law. The Trump administration has also called on China to allow USA companies greater access to Chinese markets and to cut its US trade surplus.

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