China demands US lift tech curbs, will ‘safeguard’ interests

BEIJING (AP) – China demanded Washington lift sanctions on Chinese tech companies and warned yesterday it will “resolutely safeguard” the country’s interests.

The Ministry of Commerce criticised curbs imposed on sales of United States (US) technology to a group of Chinese companies as interference in the country’s affairs.

“We strongly urge the United States to immediately stop making irresponsible remarks on the issue of Xinjiang, stop interfering with China’s internal affairs and remove relevant Chinese entities from the Entity List as soon as possible,” said a ministry statement. “China will take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard Chinese interests.”

The ministry gave no details of possible retaliation.

Despite the spike in tension, the ministry said on Tuesday a trade delegation was going ahead with a trip to Washington this week for talks aimed at ending a tariff war.

Asked whether the talks might be disrupted, a Foreign Ministry spokesman repeated China’s demand for Washington to “withdraw the relevant decisions” but gave no indication plans for negotiations might change. “We hope the United States can work together with China to meet each other halfway and promote progress in consultations,” said the spokesman, Geng Shuang, at a regular briefing.

The sanctions announced on Monday restrict sales of US technology to a group of Chinese companies working on facial recognition, artificial intelligence and other advanced products. Those technologies are part of the ruling Communist Party’s industry development plans.

China’s Vice Premier Liu He (L) greeted by US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (2nd R) and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer as he arrives at the Office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington. PHOTO: AP