China sanctions Pompeo, former US staff for ‘violating’ its sovereignty

Beijing, Jan 21 (efe-epa).- China imposed sanctions on outgoing United States secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other officials of the administration of former US President Donald Trump for “violating” its sovereignty, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday.

Also included in the list in addition to Pompeo are Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro, outgoing National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and the US ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft.

All of them have been a cause of friction with Beijing at some point.

In August last year, Azar became the top US official since 1979 to make an official visit to Taiwan – which China claims as its territory – prompting a strong protest by Beijing.

The country also sanctioned former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton and another former adviser, Steve Bannon, who was a White House strategist and whom the outgoing president granted a presidential pardon a few hours before leaving office.

“These individuals and their immediate family members are prohibited from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao of China. They and companies and institutions associated with them are also restricted from doing business with China,” the Chinese ministry said shortly after the inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden as the new US president.

“Over the past few years, some anti-China politicians in the United States, out of their selfish political interests and prejudice and hatred against China and showing no regard for the interests of the Chinese and American people, have planned, promoted and executed a series of crazy moves which have gravely interfered in China’s internal affairs, undermined China’s interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-US relations,” the statement added.

On Tuesday, Pompeo termed Beijing’s repression of the Uighur minority as “genocide,” claiming that “since at least March 2017, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), under the direction and control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has committed crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.”

Previously, Pompeo had described China as a “fragile dictatorship” that “can lay no claim to greatness or global leadership” after a Chinese court sentenced ten of the 12 Hong Konger who tried to flee to Taiwan in August to prison.

Containing China’s rise was one of the obsessions of outgoing US President Donald Trump, whose protectionist policies will have to calibrated by his successor, Joe Biden, as Beijing moves forward with its campaign to expand its networks of influence.

It remains to be seen what will be the policy towards China of Biden’s choice to be Pompeo’s successor, Antony Blinken, who said on Tuesday that he broadly agreed with the Trump administration’s approach to the Asian country but added that he differed on the methods. EFE-EPA


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