How China Enacts Sanctions On U.S. Officials

China imposes sanctions on US officials and companies doing business with the North Korean regime, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in his speech on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting in China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement about the meeting that said the government has “firmly” lodged its views with the United States, Britain, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Russia regarding the North Korean problem. According to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the five foreign ministers met in Beijing to discuss the issue of North Korea and its nuclear weapons program. The foreign ministers discussed specific concerns about the nuclear program, including US efforts to impose sanctions on Chinese companies doing business in North Korea. China is one of those countries blocking the Security Council from taking further action against the Korean regime.

The US has been carrying out a policy of containment for the Korean peninsula. Meanwhile, China is looking for ways to help rein in the influence of the North Korean regime. The Chinese understand the reality of a reunified Korea with an independent and open economy. At the same time, China realizes that there are economic difficulties with having one country, the U.S., as its largest trading partner. China does not want to lose trade partners and sources. Therefore, it makes sense for China to make use of its leverage to push for change in the US-Korea relationship.

In addition, China has been looking to improve its relationship with the Philippines. The Philippine president Benigno Aquino has expressed a willingness to pursue economic agreements with China. However, the Chinese did not disclose what they said behind closed doors. The US might be surprised when the Chinese announce some of the deals they have reached with the Philippines.

On April 12, the Chinese General Office of the Global Times released a report saying that China has slapped six Chinese-made ships with financial penalties for violating Sanchin University’s quarantine against Japanese officials. There were officials from the ports of China’s Liaoning Shipping Company and the China Southern Shipping Line who inspected the Japanese ships and boarded them. Later, the Chinese State Council spokesperson, China Daily, released a statement saying that the officials took note of the fact that the Chinese ships caused inconveniences to the Japanese government and called for “sanction.” This is the first time that China has taken such actions.

China imposes economic pressure to improve its relationship with the United States but it will only be effective if the Chinese officials’ diplomacy backs up their threats. In the case of the Philippines, the Chinese threat should be accompanied by cooperation and consultations with the Philippine government. For the United States, the Philippines can be a major partner in the South China Sea but it needs to keep its distance from China-friendly claimant and neighbors like the Philippines. China is building closer economic and political ties to these countries, so the United States must also take this into consideration.

The question on how China imposes sanctions on U.S. officials is simple whether or not China believes its way of dealing with the foreign currency traders is right or not. If China believes it is right, then China should be consistent in applying its laws irrespective of whether it invites the sanctioned individuals or not. China does not need external criticism or sanction to stick to its trade regulations rather it should follow the law. It is only when China decides that its actions are disproportionate and unjust that the international community will be able to talk sense into China. China needs to realize that its currency policy is not going to work well unless it sticks to its talk and does not engage in ill-conceived deals with the detriment of its own people.

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