China’s foreign minister has denounced EU proposals to sanction Chinese companies for supporting Russia’s war machine, vowing a “firm and firm” response to defend its business.
Chen Gang was speaking after meeting his German counterpart Annalena Berbock in Berlin to prepare for joint consultations between the German government and China next month.
Eight Chinese companies accused of selling equipment that could be used to make weapons are included in a new package of sanctions, seen by the Financial Times, which EU member states will discuss this week.
Brussels has so far avoided targeting China, arguing there is no evidence yet that it was providing weapons to Moscow. Punitive measures are only proposals so far, subject to unanimous approval by EU member states.
Chen said China has not delivered any weapons to crisis areas and has laws regulating the export of dual-use goods.
There is a normal exchange and cooperation between Chinese and Russian companies. . .[this]It shouldn’t be disrupted.”
“We are against countries imposing extraterritorial or unilateral sanctions on China or any other country in accordance with their domestic laws,” he said. And if that happens, we will respond decisively and decisively. We will defend the legitimate interests of our country and our companies.”
Two Chinese companies on the EU’s list of companies to be placed under sanctions, 3HC Semiconductors and King-Pai Technology, are already on the US sanctions list. Two Hong Kong-based companies listed in the EU are already on the US Treasury list: Sinno Electronics and Sigma Technology.
King-Pai provides microelectronics to Russia that “have defense applications that include cruise missile guidance systems,” the US Treasury previously said.
Barbock declined to comment on the companies affected by the sanctions. But she said it was “important” that EU sanctions against Russia not be sabotaged indirectly.
“It is especially critical when Russian arms companies have access to war-related products,” Berbock said. For this reason, she added, the EU was considering “specific” measures to ensure “sanctioned dual-use goods do not end up in the wrong hands”.
“This is not aimed at any particular country, but against these sanctioned goods,” she said, adding: “We expect all countries, including China, to exert influence over their companies with this in mind.”
Talking about China’s recent peace initiative to Ukraine, Chen said Beijing will keep in touch with all relevant countries and “play a constructive role” in resolving the dispute.
He said Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a recent phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, stressed that “dialogue and talks are the only way out of this crisis.”
“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible country, we will continue to push for peace talks,” he said. “China will not add fuel to the fire and will not try to extract its own benefit from this crisis.”
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