China Summons US Ambassador Over Military Sanctions

Russian Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bombers fly over Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9. (AFP photo)
Russian Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bombers fly over Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9. (AFP photo)

China summoned the U.S. ambassador on Saturday to lodge an official protest over sanctions imposed by the United States against a Chinese military organization for buying Russian fighter jets and missiles, state media said.

The announcement came a day after China called on the United States to withdraw the sanctions or "bear the consequences."

The spat adds to tensions between the two global powers over trade, China's treatment of religious groups and the Asian country's claims to disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang summoned Ambassador Terry Branstad and "lodged solemn representations over U.S. sanctions against (the) Chinese military," the People's Daily said in a brief report online.

On Thursday, Washington placed financial sanctions on the Equipment Development Department of the Chinese Defense Ministry, and its top administrator, for its recent purchase of Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.

Officials said it was the first time a third country has been punished under the CAATSA sanctions legislation for dealing with Russia, and signalled the Trump administration's willingness to risk relations with other countries in its campaign against Moscow.

Russia also lashed out at the U.S. sanctions, accusing Washington of playing unfairly and using new measures to squeeze Moscow out of the global arms market.

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