China urges United States to withdraw sanctions or face 'consequences'

State Department announces sanctions on 33 including Russians charged with meddling in 2016 U.S. election

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed U.S. sanctions against Moscow as senseless

United States officials said the imposition of penalties on China was the first time that a third-party country was punished under CAATSA and suggested the White House could use the law in the future against countries purchasing equipment from Russian Federation.

Chinese officials demanded on Friday that the United States cancel its economic sanctions against a Chinese military agency over a Russian weapons purchase.

Beijing has not joined in the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the USA and its allies since 2014.

It also adds them to the Treasury Department's list of specially designated individuals with whom Americans are barred from doing business.

"It would be good for them to also recall the notion of global stability, which they recklessly upset by whipping up tensions in Russian-US relations", Ryabkov said, warning, "It's foolish to play with fire, because things could get unsafe".

"It would be not bad if they remembered about the concept of global stability which they are unthinkingly undermining by whipping up tensions in Russia-U.S. relations".

"Playing with fire is silly, it can become risky", he added.

In a Thursday statement, the US State Department said that the sanctions had been invoked under Section 231 of Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA) "for engaging in significant transactions with persons on the [List of Specified Persons]". Some of these people were among those indicted by special counsel Robert Muller for allegedly meddling in the US election.

U.S. officials said that the USA could consider similar action against other countries taking delivery of Russian fighter jets and missiles. Turkey has been warned by the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation that there could be consequences for its planned deployment of Russia's S-400 missile defence system.

Ryabkov reiterated that none of the rounds of sanctions had managed to force Russian Federation to change its course so far. "Every new round of sanctions shows that our enemy's previous attempts to pressure Russian Federation have failed to yield any result".

"Today's actions are not meant to undermine the military capabilities or combat readiness of any country", the State Department said in a statement, "but rather to impose costs on Russian Federation in response to its interference in the United States election process, its unacceptable behavior in eastern Ukraine, and other malign activities".

"Both countries are opposed to what they see as US bullying and these kind of actions will just push Beijing and Moscow even closer together", he said, adding that Moscow needed Chinese money and Beijing wanted advanced military technology.

The US official, who did not wish to be identified emphasised that the ultimate target of these sanctions was Russian Federation. Logically it should, since it is Washington that seeks a strategic relationship with New Delhi with the avowed intent to support India's rise and position it as a counterweight to China - something Indian interlocutors frequently remind their USA counterparts about.

The US official said Washington had spent "an enormous amount of time" seeking to discourage prospective buyers of Russian arms.

Beijing's furious response comes amid a raging trade war kicked off by Washington.

The two countries will launch new tariffs on Monday, with Washington targeting $200 billion in Chinese exports and Beijing hitting $60 billion worth of American products.

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