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UK's abuse of unilateral sanctions adds fuel to fire: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-12-07 21:07

Amid concerns that the Gaza conflict may distract the West from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, G7 leaders convened with the Ukrainian president by video on Wednesday to showcase their continuing support for Ukraine.

Besides additional supplies of weaponry to Ukraine, the leaders vowed to further undermine the military capabilities of Russia.

Also on Wednesday, the United Kingdom announced a new sanctions package, targeting 46 individuals and entities allegedly equipping the Russian military with the design and manufacture of drones and missile parts and the importing of electronic components.

Three Chinese companies made the UK list for "supplying sanctioned goods" according to a news release of the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. According to a G7 statement issued in May, member countries agreed their sanctions would cover exports of industrial machinery, tools and technology, and trade in specific goods. This is not the first time Chinese companies have found themselves on a Western sanctions list for allegedly facilitating Russia's special military operation in Ukraine.

The Chinese government has criticized their approach as long-arm jurisdiction in violation of international law and hence illegitimate. Responding to the UK's sanctions against Chinese companies, the Chinese Embassy in the UK voiced strong opposition saying that the companies were engaged in normal, lawful trade.

Accusing London of violating international law, abusing unilateral sanctions and damaging the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, the embassy urged the UK to correct its mistake and lift the sanctions. The exchange again reveals a fundamental difference between the positions of the Chinese and Western governments as to how the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine should be approached. Beijing has been consistent in trying to broker a truce and hence a negotiated peace; the West has been prioritizing subjugating Russia, which has been their intention since the standoff.

Responding to a media question about the latest UK sanctions on Chinese companies, the Chinese embassy said, "China has always adhered to an objective and just position on the Ukrainian issue, and has been actively committed to promoting peace talks and a political settlement." The UK, on the other hand, has, "in disregard of international public opinion, constantly added fuel to the fire", prolonging the fighting, resulting in heavy loss of lives, it said. The sanctions on Chinese companies, have "fully exposed the British side's hypocrisy".

Military force and sanctions are not the fundamental solution to disputes. History has shown that only dialogue and consultation are effective in resolving differences. Abusing unilateral sanctions and resorting to long-arm jurisdiction as the UK is doing only creates more difficulties and complications. Rather than indulging its own animus toward Russia in this way, the UK should encourage Russia and Ukraine to build trust and support all efforts conducive to producing a peaceful settlement of the crisis.

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