China hits back at US with new sanctions

China will also implement reciprocal sanctions against some US officials, Congress, congressional and NGO staff who have behaved badly over Hong Kong-related issues.

China said on Thursday it would revoke visa exemption treatment for US diplomatic passport holders who make temporary visits to Hong Kong and Macau after the United States imposed financial sanctions and a travel ban on more than a dozen Chinese officials.

China will also implement reciprocal sanctions against some US administration officials, members of Congress, personnel at non-governmental organizations who have behaved badly and borne major responsibilities over Hong Kong-related issues, and their immediate family members, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

China urges the United States not to go further down this “dangerous and mistaken path,” Hua added.

The United States has imposed financial sanctions and a travel ban on 14 vice chairpersons of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee over their role in adopting a national security law for Hong Kong and over the disqualification last month of elected opposition legislators in Hong Kong. Hua said the reciprocal sanctions were rolled out in view of the United States’ serious interference in China’s internal affairs and undermining China’s interests over using Hong Kong-related issues.

Earlier, Xinhua news agency said in an editorial that the Trump administration officials are “digging a hole” for the next US administration’s relationship with China through actions targeting the country and its officials. Steps such as restricting visas for the 92 million members of the Communist Party and their families have “again exposed the sinister intentions of extreme anti-China forces in Washington to hijack China-US relations for their own political gain,” Xinhua said.

The US State Department has cut the duration of such visas from up to 10 years to one month. In August, the Trump administration slapped sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and other officials over what it said was their role in “curtailing freedoms” in the city.

At the Annual Gala of the US-China Business Council on Wednesday, Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai said the year 2021, which marks the 50th anniversary of Dr Henry Kissinger’s first visit to China and the “Ping-pong Diplomacy,” is essential for breaking new ground and sustaining a new momentum for China-US relations. “The year 2021 is essential as we greet the dawn of a post-pandemic era, where China-US cooperation cannot and should not be absent,” said Cui.

“We do have differences and disagreements, but our shared interests always come first, so much so that no difference justifies any conflict or confrontation,” he said. “China and the United States should have the wisdom and capability to overcome their differences and rebuild a strategic framework of relations featuring win-win cooperation and sustained and stable development.”

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