Washington [US], May 24 (ANI): The US is not considering lifting current sanctions imposed on China's Minister of National Defence Li Shangfu, the US Department of State announced on Monday, The Standard reported.
US officials had said sanctions on Li Shangfu do not stop him from having meetings with his American counterparts. In addition, US officials said that the sanctions will not be hurdles for military talks between Beijing and Washington, Kenya-based daily The Standard reported.
Last week, US President Joe Biden said that he will not consider easing sanctions on Chinese officials to improve ties. He even suggested that lifting sanctions on the Chinese defence chief is "under negotiation right now." However, a US State Department spokesperson on Monday clarified the stance.
When asked about whether the US is considering lifting sanctions imposed on Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu, US Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller on Monday said, "No, we are not. We - I'll leave at that. No, we are not."In 2018, the US imposed sanctions on Li Shangfu under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) when he headed the Equipment Development Department of the Chinese military. The sanctions imposed against Li were related to China's purchase of 10 SU-35 combat aircraft in 2017 and S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment in 2018, The Standard reported.
US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Li Shangfu are expected to attend Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. The Chinese military has not accepted the US proposal for a meeting between the defence ministers. In Beijing, Chinese officials raised questions over the "sincerity" of the US in its outreach for communications.
On Monday, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said that China always opposes unilateral sanctions and called on the US to lift sanctions, The Standard reported.
Mao Ning said, "China always firmly opposes illegal unilateral sanctions and has made clear its stern position to the U.S. side. The US side should immediately lift sanctions and take concrete actions to remove obstacles, create favourable atmosphere and conditions for dialogue and communication," according to The Standard report.
The ties between US and China have been increasingly strained in recent months over security, trade and technology issues, Taiwan and the South China Sea, The Standard reported. Chinese officials have indicated their willingness to stabilize ties with the US. However, they also demand that the US stop harming China's interests by strengthening its ties with Taiwan and imposing technology restrictions on China. The ties between US and China have been strained after the then US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August. (ANI)