Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying
 

Beijing. Beijing has strongly criticized the US’ unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies and urged Washington to correct its wrongdoing immediately, a spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

“It is legal and reasonable for the international community including China to develop energy cooperation with Iran within the framework of international law and it must be respected and protected,” spokesperson Hua Chunying told a regular briefing.

The US is randomly brandishing its sanctions stick and neglecting other parties’ legal rights, which means it is breaking international laws and basic rules on international relations, said Hua.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the US is imposing economic sanctions on a Chinese state-owned oil trading company — Zhuhai Zhenrong Co — and its top executive for purchasing Iranian oil, which violated recent US sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

“The imposition of these sanctions blocks all property and interests in property of Zhuhai Zhenrong Co that are in the US or within the possession or control of a US person, and provides that such property and interests in property may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in,” said Pompeo.

“China has stood firm against the US’ imposition of unilateral sanctions and so-called ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ as well as its bullying behavior in randomly cracking down on Chinese companies and individuals,” said Hua, adding that China will take necessary measures to protect the legal rights of companies and individuals.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington also rejected the US move, saying that “China firmly opposes the US’ imposition of unilateral sanctions and so-called ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ on China and other countries, invoking its domestic law,” according to a Reuters report on Monday which cited a spokesperson.

“We urge the US to immediately correct its wrongdoing and earnestly respect other parties’ legal rights and interests,” said the spokesperson in an email.

The crude oil business between Zhuhai Zhenrong and its partners in Iran is legal based on international law, and it is also wholly in line with international trade conventions, said a person close to Zhuhai Zhenrong.

Additionally, the two sides’ business cooperation falls in line with trade and economic relations between China and Iran, which are normal, open and transparent, the person told the Global Times on Tuesday.

“The US has no reason to impose unilateral sanctions and ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ on Chinese companies based only on its domestic law,” said the person, adding that China will not follow the US’ economic sanctions on Iran.

Chinese companies have legal rights to do business with other countries, Zhou Rong, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

“The US is obviously imposing its national law on the international community, to disrupt normal business between China and other countries, which is not justified,” Zhou told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Washington’s economic penalties on a Chinese company come amid the ongoing China-US trade friction.

Founded in 1994, the Beijing-based Zhuhai Zhenrong has developed a steady crude oil supply channel in the Middle East, and its trade with Iran accounts for more than 60 percent of its business, according to the company’s website.

(In association with Global Times)