In a recent congressional hearing, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Daniel Krightenbrink, revealed that Spacety, a Chinese company, provided satellite imagery to the Russian mercenary company Wagner. The US Treasury Department recently declared Wagner a “transnational criminal organization” and sanctioned numerous entities and individuals who support its military operations in Ukraine.
Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute Co., Ltd. (Spacety China) was among the entities sanctioned by the US government. Spacety provided Terra Tech, a Russian company, with radar satellite imagery of sites in Ukraine to enable Wagner’s combat operations. The US also took measures against Spacety Luxembourg, the Luxembourg branch of Spacety China.
China has responded to the accusations, stating that they “firmly oppose illegal unilateral sanctions” by the US. Mao Ning, a Chinese diplomatic spokesperson, made this statement during a press conference. The Chinese government has also added Head Aerospace Technology to Entity List, a kind of blacklist, for assisting the Russian military, contrary to the interests of US foreign policy and national security.
Tensions are high between the US and China, with the US government suspecting that China may cross a red line by providing material support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In a recent interview with ABC, President Joe Biden stated that the United States would “answer” if China supplied Russia with lethal weapons in the war against Ukraine. He added that although he did not “expect” China to do so despite intelligence warnings, China might be considering such a move.
I have two questions. One question is about the EU, the European Parliament being the latest among EU institutions to ban TikTok on staff phones following Canada and the US. Does the ministry have any comment on this? And my second question is, the US has said that a Chinese satellite firm Spacety which the US has blacklisted, provided satellite images to Russian mercenary company Wagner Group. Does the ministry have any comment on this?
Mao Ning: On your first question, the EU says it is the most open market in the world, yet has recently imposed a string of restrictions and suppressed foreign companies in the name of national security. Such practice undermines global confidence in the EU business environment. The EU needs to act on its words and respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, stop overstretching and abusing the concept of national security. It needs to provide an open, fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for all foreign companies.
On your second question, China is firmly opposed to US illegal unilateral sanctions.