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BEIJING - A Foreign Ministry spokesman said here Tuesday that China will not accept unilateral sanctions by the United States on a third country.
Spokesman Liu Weimin made the remarks at a regular press briefing when asked about China's response to the US sanctions on Iranian oil imports.
"China opposes any country imposing unilateral sanctions on another country pursuant to its domestic law," said Liu, adding that China will not accept the practice of saddling unilateral sanctions on a third country.
The United States will exempt seven economies from Iran oil sanctions under its National Defense Authorization Act for 2012, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday.
She said the seven economies -- India, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan -- have "significantly" reduced their oil imports from Tehran.
The sanctions, which the United States may impose starting June 28, aim to strangle Iran's nuclear program by cutting funding from its oil industry.
Among key oil importers, China is not included among the 18 countries exempt from the US sanctions.
Liu said China imports oil from Iran through normal channels in an open and transparent manner, and the trade is "legal and rational."
China's oil imports are based on its economic development needs, and the oil imports do not violate relevant UN Security Council resolutions or undermine the interests of a third party or the international community, stressed the spokesman.