China summoned the U.S. ambassador in Beijing and postponed joint military talks in protest against a U.S. decision to sanction a Chinese military agency and its director for buying Russian fighter jets and a surface-to-air missile system.
Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang summoned Ambassador Terry Branstad to lodge “stern representations”, the foreign ministry said.
China’s Defence Ministry said in a statement it would recall navy chief Shen Jinlong from a visit to the United States and postpone planned talks in Beijing between Chinese and U.S. military officials that had been set for next week. It added that China’s military reserved the right to take further countermeasures, without giving further details. Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said China’s decision to buy fighter jets and missile systems from Russia was a normal act of cooperation between sovereign countries, and the United States had “no right to interfere”.
The official said the move against the Chinese agency was not discretionary, but was made because Beijing broke U.S. law. “We hope it will be paid attention to because … our goal is to prevent these types of transactions,” he added.
The U.S. sanctions will block the EED and its director, Li Shangfu, from applying for export licenses and participating in the U.S. financial system.