On September 21, the United States imposed sanctions on China’s Equipment Development Department (EDD) of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) and its responsible personnel in accordance with its domestic law. The move is unprecedented, once again exposing the hegemonic nature of the United States to the world, and further fueling the already complex and sensitive China-US relations.
According to the US, in July last year, the US Congress passed the Countering the America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which added the Russian defense and intelligence departments and their related personnel to a Blocked Persons List with the aim of cutting off their sources of funding.
Since CAATSA was signed into law, the EDD still engaged in military trade transactions with the Russian companies who were on the Blocked Persons List and purchased Russia’s Su-35 combat aircraft and the S-400 surface-to-air missile system. As a result, China was sanctioned according to CAATSA.
In other words, the “real intention” of the US is aimed at Russia, but China was punished because of Russia. The measures of US sanctions mainly include: denying export licenses, excluding from foreign exchange trade under the US jurisdiction, prohibiting from the US financial system, freezing all assets and interests held in the US, and implementing sanctions against the heads of the CMC Equipment Development Department, including visa bans.
The US approach amounts to serious violations of international law and the basic norms that govern international relations. All sovereign states are equal regardless of their differences in sizes, strength or weakness. A country must not interfere in others’ internal and their respective foreign affairs. The United States has imposed unilateral sanctions on other countries, and even extended a notorious extension of sanctions – “secondary sanctions”, in an attempt to put the US above other countries and “upgrade” its domestic law into “international law.” This hegemonic act has long been hated by the international community.
The European Union (EU) has introduced a Blocking Statue that specifically resists the US unilateral sanctions in fields of economy and finance. Russia has also issued a tit-for-tat anti-sanctions law against the US. China’s military trade with Russia is a normal act of cooperation between the sovereignty of China and Russia, neither harming international security nor targeting any specific countries. Other countries have no rights or reason to intervene.
The US move is obviously intended to “kill two birds with one stone.” For some time, under the strong anti-Russian sentiment in the United States, the US government has increased its containment and suppression against Russia.
The US sanctions this time blacklisted 33 Russian people and entities. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov have once said the Russian side got used to it since the United States has imposed 60 sanctions on Russia since 2011. This time the US aims to push Russia out of the international military market through these sanctions.
Since taking office, the Trump administration has adopted the Cold War mentality, labelled China as a “strategic competitor”, and increased its prevention and containment against China.
In addition to the additional tariffs on Chinese exports to the United States, the US blocked the “Made in China 2025” Initiative, a campaign to reshape China’s manufacturing edges within 10 years via advanced technologies, sanctioned Chinese telecoms company ZTE, added 44 Chinese entities to its export control list and introduced the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), and even worse it’s targeting China’s defense industry sector this time, all of which can be perceived as interlocking and sharing “the same root”. Its fundamental purpose is to suppress the development of China’s high-tech and slow down China’s national defense modernization.
What’s more, the United States tries to sow discord between China and Russia. It is clear that the Russian side has carried out extensive military cooperation with many countries, not just China, among which there are many American allies and partners. The US sanctions against the Chinese military mean to “drive a wedge into” the China-Russia relationship, creating obstacles to China-Russia military trade, and hampering the in-depth development of China-Russia comprehensive strategic coordination.
In response to the incorrect move of the United States, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the PRC and the personnel in charge of the military summoned the US ambassador to China and the acting defense attaché respectively, and lodged solemn representations and protests to the US, demanding that the US immediately correct its mistakes and revoke the so-called sanctions. Otherwise, the US should be fully responsible for the consequences.
The spokespersons of the MFA and the Ministry of National Defense (MND) showed China’s solemn stance on this. The Chinese military also announced that it would immediately recall its Navy Commander Vice-Admiral Shen Jinlong, who is in the US attending the 23rd International Seapower Symposium and had planned to visit the United States, and postponed the second meeting of a communication mechanism for the joint staff departments of China and the US, scheduled for Sept 25-27 in Beijing while reserved the rights to take further countermeasures.
The US sanctions against the Chinese military equipment department in full fury is a long-established plan. China and the Chinese armed forces have always been convinced the truth will eventually prevail, so they will have faith in common reason but not American hegemony.
China will never accept any external interference and will never accept any external coercion. China has rock-solid determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests. China will not afraid of the US sanctions; on the contrary, they will only inspire us to work harder and build a more powerful military for our nation.
The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is the positive energy to promote world peace and stability and safeguarding international justice. Facing the complex and uncertain international situation and the rise of hegemonism and power politics, China and Russia will continue to deepen the “back-to-back” cooperation and continuously enhance their strategic cooperation.
The US sanctions point toward the Chinese military and senior generals, and damage the relationship between the two militaries and the two countries, the mutual strategic trust and the cooperation between the two countries in international and regional affairs.
In the long run, the US shoots themselves in the foot and ends up harming their own interests. The US will be completely wrong if they believe that China will bow down to them in submission when they wave their big sticks. If the US thinks that China will simply swallow the insult, and things will get back to normal, we can only say that the United States does not know China well.
The development history of China-US relations proves that China and the United States both benefit from peaceful coexistence, but will lose from conflicts. American governors must realize that China’s development is unstoppable. Everything in the world has always been conforming to an old Chinese saying that “a just cause enjoys abundant support while an unjust cause finds little support”. The Chinese side sincerely advises the US side to step back from the brink before it is too late, and to return to the reasonable and correct track as soon as possible.