Bei­jing re­buffs charges against busi­ness

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUNBI in Bei­jing zhangyunbi@chi­nadaily.

China protested on Tues­day af­ter the United States lodged crim­i­nal charges and sanc­tions on Mon­day against a Chi­nese firm it ac­cuses of be­ing con­nected to Py­ongyang’s nu­clear weapons pro­gram.

The For­eign Min­istry said China ob­jects to any coun­try at­tempt­ing to ex­er­cise ju­ris­dic­tion over a Chi­nese en­tity or in­di­vid­ual based on its do­mes­tic laws.

The com­pany tar­geted by the US, the Dan­dong Hongx­i­ang In­dus­trial Devel­op­ment Co, is al­ready be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the public se­cu­rity author­ity, Chi­nese of­fi­cials an­nounced. The cross-bor­der trad­ing com­pany is reg­is­tered near the China-DPRK bor­der.

A US Trea­sury re­lease is­sued Mon­day said au­thor­i­ties there were sanc­tion­ing the com­pany and four of its ex­ec­u­tives, in­clud­ing com­pany head Ma Xiao­hong.

The US ac­cused them of vi­o­lat­ing US laws against sup­port­ing “weapons of mass de­struc­tion pro­lif­er­a­tors”, and en­gag­ing in money laun­der­ing in the US and else­where in sup­port of Py­ongyang.

Reuters re­ported that the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice said it had filed crim­i­nal charges against the firm and ex­ec­u­tives.

In re­sponse, For­eign Min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “Any en­ter­prise or in­di­vid­ual found in breach of the reg­u­la­tions will be treated se­ri­ously.

“In this process, if nec­es­sary, we would like to em­bark on co­op­er­a­tion with the rel­e­vant coun­try on the ba­sis of mu­tual re­spect and equal­ity.” Geng said.

This month, the Public Se­cu­rity Depart­ment of Liaon­ing province con­firmed that the com­pany and the ex­ec­u­tives con­cerned are “sus­pected of se­ri­ous eco­nomic crimes” and un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion with “due ev­i­dence in place”.

Geng reaf­firmed Bei­jing’s op­po­si­tion to Py­ongyang’s de­vel­op­ing nu­clear weapons and its com­mit­ment to Korean Penin­sula de­nu­cle­ariza­tion.

“How­ever, I want to stress that we op­pose any coun­try en­act­ing so-called long-arm ju­ris­dic­tion, us­ing its own do­mes­tic laws against a Chi­nese en­tity or in­di­vid­ual,” Geng said.

Zhang Lian­gui, an ex­pert on Korean stud­ies at the Party School of the Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China, said Wash­ing­ton’s lat­est sanc­tions partly aim to “add pres­sure to the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment”.

“As China has ju­ris­dic­tion over the case, there is no li­a­bil­ity for the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment to re­spond to an im­proper re­quest, if there is any, by the US gov­ern­ment,” Zhang said.

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