China’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday warned the U.S. government against imposing financial sanctions on China in response to its stance on Russia’s latest war with Ukraine, saying Beijing would answer such a gesture with a “strong and resolute response.”

“When dealing with its relations with Russia, the US should not impose so-called sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction on Chinese companies and individuals or undermine the legitimate rights and interests of China, otherwise China will make strong and resolute response,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a regular press briefing on March 10.

Zhao’s remark came in response to a question by the state-run China Central Television (CCTV), which asked the foreign ministry spokesman if he had any comment on American officials purportedly saying that China had “neither taken concrete measures to resolve conflicts nor followed the sanctioning of Russia by the West.”

Russia launched a full-scale military invasion of neighboring Ukraine on February 24. The development occurred three days after the Kremlin announced plans to formally recognize the independence of two Russian-backed separatist groups in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region that declared themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR). The U.S. government led global condemnation of the assault and encouraged other nations to follow its example by imposing financial sanctions on Russia. The anti-Kremlin campaign has tallied a growing number of nations supporting it but has failed to entice China and India to condemn Russia.

China, India, and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) abstained from a vote toward a U.N. Security Council resolution on February 26 that would have “demanded that Moscow immediately stop its attack on Ukraine and withdraw all troops,” U.N. News reported. Russia, as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, exercised its right to veto the draft measure and ultimately scuppered the resolution.

The failed measure included a clause in which the U.N. Security Council would “deplore the Russian Federation’s 21 February decision related to the status of certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions and decide that Moscow must immediately and unconditionally reverse that decision as it violates Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Zhao Lijian addressed Beijing’s stance toward the issue of Russian sovereignty at his regular press briefing on March 10, stating, “Russia as a sovereign state has the right to make its own decisions.”

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