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US Sanctions China for Buying Russian Jets and Missiles

Leo Timm
Leo Timm covers China-related news, culture, and history. Follow him on Twitter at @kunlunpeaks
Published: September 29, 2018
A Sukhoi Su-27P fighter jet, designed in the Soviet Union, of the Ukrainian air force. (Image: Dave_S. via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

The U.S. State Department has imposed sanctions on a Chinese military company, citing its breach of previous sanctions targeting Russia for its interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

China’s Equipment Development Department (EDD), which is responsible for procuring weapons and military technology from other countries, was slapped with the sanctions on Sept. 20.

In 2017 and 2018, the EDD had respectively purchased 10 advanced Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia’s military export company Rosoboronexport, and the S-400 surface to air missile system. The State Department confirmed that the sanctions were related to China’s purchases of the missiles and aircraft.

The EDD and its director, Li Shangfu, have been barred from applying for export licenses, and “from participating in the U.S. financial system,” according to Reuters. Li has also had his U.S.-based financial assets frozen and his visa revoked.

The U.S. government blacklisted Li and 33 other people and organizations for their involvement with Russia under the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA.

The sanctions were facilitated by an executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Sept. 25.

According to Xie Tian, a professor of economics at the Aiken School of Business at the University of South Carolina, the sanctions are especially damaging to the Chinese communist regime, which incorporates Russian military technology in its own armaments and sells them internationally to third world countries.

But without being able to take part in Western financial institutions, it is difficult for China to continue doing this easily, Xie told The Epoch Times. It “would be a critical blow” to the Chinese regime, he said.

Chinese officials themselves may be worried by the sanctions, said Tang Jingyuan, a U.S.-based commentator on Chinese current events in an NTD Television program.

Many Chinese officials have moved their assets abroad to the United States and other Western countries. The phenomenon of “naked officials,” whose family members live abroad, is well-known in Chinese society. The sanctions against the EDD and Li Shangfu could be repeated against other Chinese officials and businessmen, cutting them off from their wealth and relatives.

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