Beijing has hit back at a US call for Hong Kong to refuse services to a tanker loaded with Iranian oil, blasting Washington’s “long arm jurisdiction” when it came to energy dealings between governments.
“China has all along opposed unilateral sanctions and so-called long arm jurisdiction,” a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry told the South China Morning Post on Wednesday. Beijing’s response follows an earlier warning from Washington to Hong Kong that it could face penalties if it allowed the Pacific Bravo vessel to port and receive services in the city, as it would circumvent US sanctions on Iranian oil exports.
The ministry reiterated that it saw nothing wrong with “normal” Iranian oil sales with other nations and called on Washington to respect the deals.
The normal energy dealings between Iran and the international community, including China, that is within the framework of international laws, are reasonable, lawful, and should be respected and protected.
Beijing’s call to the US follows earlier comments from Hong Kong’s Commerce and Economic Development Bureau. The Bureau maintained that the city had “strictly” adhered to UN Security Council sanctions, noting that US sanctions on Iranian crude were “outside the scope” of those implemented by Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s Marine Department also maintained that is had “no information” which indicated the Pacific Bravo vessel, which is owned by China’s Bank of Kulun, would enter or pass Hong Kong’s waters. Ship-tracking data indicated that the vessel was last off the coast of Sri Lanka and is expected to arrive in Indonesia on Monday.
The latest war of words between Beijing and Washington comes at a time of growing antagonism between the US and rivals to its east. In addition to the growing trade war with Beijing, the Trump administration has continued its drive to choke off Iran’s oil exports by refusing to extend waivers to large importing nations such as China, South Korea and India. Since May 2, customers who continue to import Iranian crude risk the wrath of US sanctions.
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