China has recalled a top admiral and broken off talks with U.S. military officials in response to U.S. sanctions imposed on China for buying Russian-made weapons.
Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong had been scheduled to meet with Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson on Saturday, but was abruptly recalled, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“We were informed that Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong has been recalled to China and would not conduct the visit with Adm. Richardson,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Logan said, without elaborating.
The recall came days after the State Department imposed sanctions on China’s Equipment Development Department for buying arms from Rosoboronexport, Russia’s chief arms exporter. The U.S. imposed sanctions on the firm, and those who buy from it, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its role in the Syrian civil war.
Huang Xueping, deputy head of the Chinese Central Military Commission’s international military cooperation office, called the sanctions “a flagrant breach of basic rules of international relations” and “a stark show of hegemonism.”
“The Chinese military reserves the right to take further countermeasures,” Huang said.
In addition to recalling Shen, China canceled talks in Beijing with U.S. military officials that were designed to improve communications between armed forces staffs of the two nations. China also rejected a request from the U.S. to allow the warship Wasp to visit Hong Kong next month.
Also on Tuesday, China demanded the U.S. cancel a planned $330 million sale of military equipment to Taiwan, the Voice of America reported
Defense Secretary James Mattis framed the events as a speed bump in overall relations between China and the United States.
“We believe that we do have to have a relationship with China and Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo and I are of one mind on this,” Mattis said.
“And so we’re sorting out the way ahead right now,” he added, according to Reuters.
Retired Navy Capt. Jim Fanell said China’s reaction is proof the sanctions are working.
“The public recall of PLA Navy commander, Adm. Shen Jinlong, and the cancellation of the meeting with his U.S. counterpart demonstrates the effectiveness of the U.S. administration’s announced sanctions against the Equipment Development Department,” Fanell said.
Fanell said the Chinese may have done America a favor by pushing the United States away.
“If there was ever a time for the U.S. to hold the line it is now,” he said.
“Instead of worrying about losses of port calls to Hong Kong, or canceled mil-to-mil events, the U.S. would do well to use this period of non-contact with (China) as a time to detoxify and to funnel those energies into strengthening our existing alliances, and to build new bridges and partnerships. Once Beijing realizes that they are isolated against the rest of civilized society maybe then they will realize that their path of unilateral and selfish actions will not stand,” Fanell added.
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