Beijing retaliated against US sanctions as it rejected a docking request by the amphibian assault ship USS Wasp in Hong Kong during a time of worsening relations between the two countries. Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang hinted at the sanctions by stating such requests were reviewed on a case by case basis “in light of specific situation(s)”. The USS Wasp, a smaller version of an aircraft carrier with a crew of around 1,000, was planning to dock in Hong Kong early next month, according to US officials.
It comes as no surprise that China has taken a hostile stance as the US passed severe sanctions against the Equipment Development Department and its head, Li Shangfu, after Beijing acquired military planes and missiles from Russia. China had immediately withdrawn from a high level meeting between the respective countries’ naval heads in response to the measures that took effect last Thursday.
U.S State Department defended the move, stating they were not after China but intending to penalize Russia who they accuse of tampering in its elections and interference in Ukraine as part of its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.
The sanctions couldn’t have come at a worse time still as the US approved $ 330 million worth of arms to Taiwan on Tuesday, a move that is sure to miff China. China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has expressed its intention of reunification. The Chinese see such moves as provocation and a violation of its One China policy. Chinese Defence Ministry spokesperson, Ren Guoqiang termed the US-Taiwan arms deal interference in Chinese domestic affairs and ruinous to US-China relations.
Combined with the ongoing trade war that escalated after President Donald Trump instituted fresh tariffs that virtually imposed a levy on all Chinese imports, it would seem relations are unravelling on several fronts between the two geopolitical giants. Beijing countered by slapping levies on $ 60 billion worth of American products. The Chinese deputy of trade negotiations decried the hard line US position, stating it would be hard to negotiate with a party “when he puts a knife on your neck”.