China ‘strongly urges’ US to remove sanctions and stop accusing it of human rights violations

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Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia June 7, 2019.

Maxim Shemetov | Reuters

Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday it “strongly urges” the U.S. to stay clear from the country’s domestic issue, after the White House blacklisted a slew of Chinese companies due to alleged human rights violations against Muslim minorities in China’s far-western region of Xinjiang.

“We strongly urge the U.S. to immediately stop making irresponsible remarks on the issue of Xinjiang, stop interfering with the wrong actions of China’s internal affairs, and remove relevant Chinese entities from the list of entities as soon as possible,” a spokesperson from the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday in a statement.

“China will also take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard China’s own interests,” the spokesperson said.

The comment came after the tensions between the U.S. and China rose ahead of the highly-anticipated trade talks this week. The U.S. banned 28 Chinese companies from doing business with American companies without being granted a U.S. government license due to human rights issues.

Markets were bracing for a stiff retaliation as Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said earlier Tuesday “stay tuned” for China to fight back. Reports from China also said Chinese delegation may cut short their planned stay in Washington and depart on Friday, dimming hopes for a trade deal.

The tempered optimism sparked a sell-off in the markets with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tanking as much as 300 points.

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times followed by markets for insight on the trade war, said Tuesday China now has “low expectation for real breakthrough.”

Global Times is a tabloid under the People’s Daily, which is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China.

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