CHINA and Russia hit back at the United States yesterday for imposing unilateral sanctions on both countries for allegedly trading with North Korea.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the sanctions against 16 companies and individuals, mostly Russian and Chinese, on Tuesday.
Both Beijing and Moscow backed an August 5 US-drafted UN security council resolution banning exports of North Korean iron ore, seafood and other goods in response to Pyongyang’s latest ballistic missile tests.
“It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilise the region,” Mr Mnuchin said.
“We are taking actions consistent with UN sanctions to show that there are consequences for defying sanctions.”
However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters yesterday: “China opposes the imposition of unilateral sanctions outside the framework of the UN security council. She singled out “the ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ imposed on Chinese entities or individuals by other countries in accordance with their domestic laws.”
Ms Hua reiterated that China had moved quickly to impose the latest sanctions and earlier resolutions that have forced it to import coal from the US.
US President Donald Trump pushed Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to back further pressure on North Korea over its nuclear programme in an August 11 phone call.
“If China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade,” he told reporters the day before, indicating he was seeking a deal.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Tuesday night that Moscow was formulating its “inevitable response.”
“In recent years, Washington in theory should have learned that for us the language of sanctions is unacceptable, and the solutions to real problems are only hindered by such actions,” he said.
“So far, however, there doesn’t seem to be an understanding of such obvious truths.”
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hailed Pyongyang’s “restraint” on Tuesday for not holding nuclear or missile tests during the latest provocative US-South Korean war games.
“Perhaps we are seeing our pathway to some time in the near future having some dialogue,” he said.