U.S. hits China with sanctions for buying Russian fighter jets and missiles

Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets fly in formation during a demonstration at the MAKS 2017 air show outside Moscow

US hits China with sanctions for buying Russian fighter jets and missiles

Pompeo, in consultation with Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, imposed sanctions on the Chinese military's Equipment Development Department and its director, Li Shangfu, for purchasing Su-35 combat aircraft and a S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russian Federation.

On Thursday, the State Department announced that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had imposed sanctions "on the Chinese entity Equipment Development Department and its director, Li Shangfu" for "engaging in significant transactions" with people on the department's List of Specified Persons.

The EDD and Li have both now been added to this list.

They block the Chinese agency, and Li, from applying for export licenses and participating in the USA financial system.

Sanctions on Li will also prohibit him using the U.S. financial system and making foreign exchanges, and block any of his property or interests.

The U.S. thinking is pretty straightforward: By targeting countries that buy Russian weapons, the U.S.is trying to squeeze the money Moscow gets from selling arms: buy from them and you might also be blacklisted.

The U.S. sanctions have "seriously violated the basic norms of global relations and seriously damaged the relations between China and the United States", Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters on Friday.

China has not become part of the sanction imposed on Russian Federation by Washington and its allies since 2014.

Moscow and Beijing lashed out Friday at Washington's new anti-Russian sanctions that also target China for the first time, warning the United States could face consequences.

The State Department also placed 33 Russian intelligence and military-linked actors on its sanctions blacklist.

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China's purchase of the weapons from Rosoboronexport, Russia's main arms exporter, violated a 2017 law, the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), meant to punish the government of President Vladimir Putin for interfering in US elections and other activities.

But the arms lobby in U.S. also appears intent on using this opportunity to wean New Delhi away from Russian armaments and make a pitch for United States arms, even as officials assure that sanctions are not meant to undermine the defense capabilities of any country. "The possession of this military equipment is very important for China".

With regard to Russia, CAATSA arises from the country's "aggression in Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, cyber intrusions and attacks, interference in the 2016 elections, and other malign activities", the State Department said.

The sanctions were enacted "to further impose costs on the Russian government in response to its malign activities", Nauert said in the statement.

"Sanctions are used as a weapon of unfair competition - all of this we perfectly remember from the situation with the Nord Stream 2", Senator Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Russian Upper House Committee for International Relations, said.

CAATSA, or the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, was passed in 2017 as a tool that gives the Trump administration more ways to target Russia, Iran and North Korea with economic and political sanctions.

The U.S. President strengthened the legal basis for earlier imposed sanctions.

The U.S. has slapped sanctions on the Chinese military over China's relationship with Russian Federation. It can target stealth warplanes, such as the Pentagon's latest F-35 fighter jet.

"We hope that at least this step will send a signal of our seriousness and perhaps encourage others to think twice about their own engagement with the Russian defense and intelligence sectors", the administration official said.

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