United States Places Sanctions Against Chinese Military Firm For Buying Russian Jets

Ng Han Guan / Getty Images

President Trump’s administration has gone forward with sanctions against a Chinese military organization and its leader after it purchased fighter jets and missiles from the Russian government, according to reports from The Hill.

The State Department has announced that they will be placing financial restrictions on the Chinese company Equipment Development Department as well as its director, Li Shangfu, due to the Russian sanctions law that was passed by Congress in 2017.

The law, known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, places financial restrictions on any person or organization that involves itself in large financial transactions with the Russian military.

The Equipment Development Department and Shangfu came on the State Department’s radar after it purchased a Su-35 combat aircraft and equipment for S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from the Russian government in late 2017 and 2018.

The purchases occurred after the law was passed and drew attention from monitoring officials due to the amount the organization spent on the purchase.

The sanctions against the Equipment Development Department and Shangfu mark the first time that the Trump administration has issued the penalties against a non-Russian company for breaking the sanctions that have been placed against Russia.

The Equipment Development Department plays a major role in the Chinese military. An official from the State Department told The Hill that the intent of the sanctions was “to emphasize that the ultimate target of these sanctions is Russia” and “are not intended to undermine the defense capabilities of any particular country.”

Trump signed the executive order on Thursday that allowed the State Department to go forward with applying the penalties against the Equipment Development Department, listing the specific details of the sanctions.

Due to the sanctions placed against it, the Equipment Development Department and Shangfu will no longer be allowed to engage in the U.S. financial system, acquire U.S. export licenses, and access foreign exchanges under U.S. jurisdiction, according to reports from The Hill. Neither the Equipment Development Department nor Shangfu will be allowed to access their assets in the United States and Shangfu will now be banned from acquiring a visa to enter the United States.

Now that the Equipment Development Department and Shangfu have sanctions placed under them, any American business that engages in transactions with the company is at risk of falling under sanctions themselves.

The Treasury Department has also announced that they have placed 33 Russian nationals and firms connected to the Russian military and intelligence operations under sanctions due to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. This includes the 25 nationals and firms that were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller.