The U.S. sanctions imposed on China’s Bank of Kunlun, accused of providing financial services to Iranian banks, are ridiculous and counterproductive, and risk hurting the normal economic links between Beijing and Washington.
The U.S. government said Tuesday that the Bank of Kunlun would be denied access to the U.S. financial system, alleging it has facilitated transactions with Iranian banks that were blacklisted by Washington for their alleged involvement in developing mass destruction weapons.
China has strongly reacted to US sanctions against the Chinese bank for its alleged transactions with Iranian financial institutions involved in developing weapons of mass destruction.
The US Treasury Department on Tuesday banned China’s Kunlun Bank from doing business with US financial institutions. The bank added to a new US sanctions list has dealt with Iranian financial institutions already subject to the sanctions.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement issued on Wednesday that the US invoked domestic law to impose sanctions on a Chinese financial institution, and that this seriously violates international rules.
Qin said China expresses strong discontent and resolute opposition. He said China is actively involved in the effort to resolve Iran’s nuclear issue, but that repeated sanctions against the country’s firms and banks will adversely affect cooperative Chinese-US relations. He demanded that the US withdraw the sanction against the bank.
The latest round of penalties came as Western countries have blamed Iran for trying to develop nuclear weapons, an accusation strongly denied by Tehran.
However, the new measure, purportedly designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program, in fact lacks legal grounds and violates the norms of international relations, as sanctions on the Chinese bank and international transactions were made pursuant to the U.S. domestic laws.
As a matter of fact, bilateral economic activities between Kunlun and the six Iranian banks were conducted in line with a string of UN Security Council resolutions and other international standards.
Moreover, the legitimate cooperation between China and Iran in the areas of energy, economy and trade featured by openness and transparency has nothing to do with Tehran’s nuclear program and will by no means harm the interests of any third party.
Rather it is the U.S. practice of attempting to extending its domestic law to other countries that would obviously undermine China’s interests and bilateral ties as well.
The fourth round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue held in Beijing in May has yielded positive results and set the tone for expanding strategic cooperation and promoting mutually beneficial relations.
However, Washington’s sanctions on the Chinese bank would lead to nothing but an hindrance to bilateral cooperation.
Furthermore, history has proved that the West’s practice of pressuring Iran through sanctions has come to no avail and will only add to the tensions between the two sides.
China has always attached great importance to the issue of nuclear security and firmly opposed nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, and is ready to work with other relevant parties including the United States to push for a proper settlement of Iran’s nuclear issue.
Thus, it’s highly advisable for the United States to revoke the sanctions on Kunlun as soon as possible. And Washington should take concrete measures to enhance mutual trust and bridge differences with Tehran in the quest for a solution to the decade-long Iranian nuclear crisis.