China opposes use of unilateral sanctions against its entities: Ministry

A police officer standing guard in front of the Great Hall of the People at Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
A police officer standing guard in front of the Great Hall of the People at Beijing's Tiananmen Square.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS, AFP) - China strongly opposes other countries imposing unilateral sanctions on Chinese entities, a Commerce Ministry spokesman said in response to the latest US restrictions on Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies.

The United States should avoid further impacting Sino-US trade relations, spokesman Gao Feng told reporters at a weekly briefing.

He also said China would take "relevant countermeasures" to protect the rights and interests of Chinese firms abroad. He did not elaborate.

The US Commerce Department said on Wednesday (May 15) that it was adding Huawei Technologies Co and 70 affiliates to its so-called "Entity List" in a move that bans the Chinese telecommunications giant from acquiring components and technology from US firms without prior US government approval.

US President Donald Trump separately on Wednesday signed an executive order barring US firms from using telecom equipment made by companies deemed to pose a national security risk.

The order did not specifically identify any country or company, but US officials previously labelled Huawei a "threat" and lobbied allies not to use Huawei network equipment in next-generation 5G networks.

“China has emphasised many times that the concept of national security should not be abused, and that it should not be used as a tool for trade protectionism,” Mr Gao said. “China will take all the necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese firms," he added.

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that there has to be good faith for meaningful talks with the US.

Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, speaking at a daily news briefing in Beijing, also reiterated that China would take necessary measures to safeguard the rights and interests of its businesses.

French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Thursday about the danger of a “technological war or a trade war”.  

“Our perspective is not to block Huawei or any company, it is to preserve our national security and European sovereignty,” Mr Macron told reporters at the Vivatech trade show in Paris.  

“But I think launching now a technological war or a trade war vis-a-vis any other country is not appropriate." 

“First it is not the best way to defend your national security – we don’t need it – second, it is not the best way to develop your own ecosystem and have a world of cooperation and decrease tensions,” he added.