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China and the US have been escalating sanctions and measures against each other in recent weeks. US President Donald Trump signed legislation on Tuesday that allowed his government to impose new sanctions against Chinese officials. It followed Beijing passing a controversial new security law on Hong Kong that allowed it more control over the city’s freedoms.
Beijing were enraged by the US’ measures on Hong Kong, and vowed to impose their own sanctions on Washington officials.
China’s foreign ministry condemned the American’s “gross interference” in a powerful statement.
It said: “The US attempt to obstruct the implementation of the national security law for Hong Kong will never succeed.
“We urge the US side to correct its mistakes, refrain from implementing the act and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs in any way.
“China will firmly respond if the US goes ahead.”
The threats followed Mr Trump signing The Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which gives his administration the ability to impose more sanctions on Chinese officials involved in oppressing Hong Kong.
It followed Mr Trump issuing an executive order that stopped Hong Kong’s special status for trade with the US
He said the order was meant to “hold China accountable for its aggressive actions against the people” of Hong Kong.
Mr Trump added: “No special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies.”
The Hong Kong executive order means the US will now treat the city as though it were “mainland China”.
Senator Jim Risch, Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the actions taken by Mr Trump were essential.
He said: “It is unfortunate, but necessary, for the president to use these measures in response to the alarming actions taken by the Chinese Communist Party, especially the imposition of the national security law.
“The draconian law subjects the people of Hong Kong to the CCP’s authoritarianism, and puts every Hong Konger, as well as USS citizens in Hong Kong, at risk.”
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It is the latest escalation in conflict between China and the US.
This week also saw boiling tensions in the South China Sea, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo savaging Beijing’s claims of control over the region.
In a statement, he said: “The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire.
“America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law.”
Beijing also attacked Mr Pompeo’s statement, saying the US rejection of Chinese control was unlawful.
The Chinese Embassy in the US posted a statement on Twitter denouncing the move.
It said America “exaggerates the situation in the region and attempts to sow discord between China and other littoral countries.”
It added: “The accusation is completely unjustified.
“The Chinese side is firmly opposed to it.”
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