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China blasts US over Congress resolutions on airship

By WANG QINGYUN | | Updated: 2023-02-17 00:20
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Chinese and US flags flutter outside the building of an American company in Beijing, Jan 21, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

China accused the United States of political manipulation on Thursday and urged it not to "escalate the situation" after both chambers of the US Congress adopted resolutions condemning the entry of an unmanned Chinese civilian airship into US airspace.

The US Senate passed a pair of resolutions on Wednesday, a week after the House of Representatives adopted a resolution.

China strongly disapproves of and firmly opposes the resolutions, which disregard "basic facts" and are "purely meant to score political points and dramatize the situation", Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

Urging the US Congress to respect facts and stop smearing China, Wang said it should "stop taking actions that may escalate the situation".

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, said the resolution passed by the US House hypes up the so-called "China threat".

The resolutions are part of the measures the US adopted after it shot down the airship earlier this month in spite of China's explanation that the incident was caused by force majeure and its repeated requests that the US handle the situation in a calm, professional and restrained manner.

The US has violated "the spirit of international law and basic norms in international relations" by insisting on using force to shoot down the airship and hyping up the incident, the committee said.

"Some politicians in the US Congress have dramatized the incident and fanned the flames, fully exposing their malicious intention to counter and contain China," the statement said.

It also said the US has "wantonly interfered in other countries' domestic affairs, violated their sovereignty and carried out massive surveillance on them".

Commenting on reports that US President Joe Biden plans to deliver a speech about the Chinese airship, Wang said the airship's unintended entry into US airspace can be seen as "a test for the US' sincerity and ability to properly handle crises, and stabilize its ties with China".

Washington should not seek a dialogue while increasing tensions and escalating the crisis, the spokesman said, urging the US to avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations.

In another development, China decided on Thursday to add two US weapons companies to its "unreliable entity list" over their involvement in arms sales to the Taiwan region.

Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Missiles & Defense are prohibited from engaging in imports and exports related to China, and from making new investments in the country, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce.

Their senior management staff are no longer allowed to enter or stay in China. No fresh work permits will be approved and the existing ones will be revoked, along with residence permits, the statement said.

Also, the companies have each been fined twice the amount of their respective arms sales to Taiwan, as shown by their contracts, which they will have to pay retroactively from September 2020, when the Provisions on the Unreliable Entity List came into being. They are required to pay the fines within 15 days, the statement said.

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