The Treasury Department on Tuesday announced new penalties against 10 entities and six individuals, mostly Chinese and Russian, for providing support to North Korea in ways that aided the rogue state’s missile and nuclear weapons programs. The Treasury characterized the targets of its new sanctions as “third-country companies and individuals.”
The decision came just a few weeks after Beijing and Moscow agreed to fresh United Nations sanctions on the North. It also came less than two months after the Treasury imposed sanctions on a bank, a shipping company and two individuals from China.
“The Chinese side opposes the unilateral sanctions outside the framework of the UN Security Council, especially the ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ imposed by any other country on the Chinese entities and individuals based on its own domestic laws,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“Long-arm jurisdiction” is a term for when authorities exercise jurisdiction over foreign entities. There has been considerable debate over the U.S. use of that practice.
China, Hua said, “always” implements North Korea-related resolutions of the United Nations Security Council “in their entirety” and fulfills its international obligation.
“Our efforts are there for all to see. We will investigate and deal with the Chinese enterprises and individuals in accordance with our own domestic laws and regulations provided that they are suspected of violating the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council,” she said.
State media joined the fray with, China Daily on Thursday saying the sanctions are “not a silver bullet.”
“The US has long believed that sanctions are a silver bullet. But the majority of sanctions have not only failed but also caused humanitarian disasters in other countries,” the newspaper said, adding that such “secondary sanctions” will have “little effect” in persuading North Korea.
Nationalistic Global Times was more aggressive, saying the U.S. will “pay for unjust ban on Chinese firms,” which it claimed “severely violates international law.”
“So far the U.S. sanctions have exerted little impact on China, but it breaks the rules and offends China,” it added.
“The U.S. has acted beyond its authority and its unilateral sanctions are unreasonable. For one thing, how could Washington be confident about the illegal trade between China and North Korea? For another, who grants Washington the right to make judgments on which companies violate UN Security Council resolutions?” asked the paper.
The U.S., it said, aims to “tarnish the international image of China” and is not acknowledging its own responsibility in the issue.