| Global Times | 2012-6-13 1:15:03
By Liu Linlin
China's foreign ministry reiterated yesterday that it opposes any country imposing unilateral sanctions on another country pursuant to its domestic law, in response to possible punitive measures by the US for its continuing oil imports from Iran.
China imports oil from Iran through normal channels in an open and transparent manner, which does not violate relevant UN Security Council resolutions or undermine the interests of a third party and the international community, said Liu Weimin, the ministry's spokesman.
Liu's remarks came as the US announced Monday it would exempt another seven economies from its sanctions as they "have all significantly reduced their volume of crude oil purchases from Iran."
According to a statement released by the US State Department, the seven economies are India, Malaysia, South Korea South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan, following 11 countries including Japan and some European countries that were put on the exemption list in March.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the sanctions seek to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
"By reducing Iran's oil sales, we are sending a decisive message to Iran's leaders: until they take concrete actions to satisfy the concerns of the international community, they will continue to face increasing isolation and pressure," she said.
As a major oil importer from Iran, China was not included in the exemption list.
A senior US official said on condition of anonymity that they have informed China fully of the scope and urgency of the sanctions, adding that the US may have different perceptions of sanctions at different times, AFP reported.
US President Barack Obama signed a bill at the end of last year, allowing penalties on foreign banks that settle oil imports with the Iranian central bank starting June 28.
He Fan, a deputy director at the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told the Global Times that financial sanctions are even more serious than a trade war.
"If the sanction is applied to Chinese institutions, the US won't cut off all links with them. But even parts of the changes will restrain China's overseas trade, which relies on the financial system based on the dollar," He said.
The US sanctions target foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran's central bank by barring them from opening or maintaining correspondent operations in the US, according to the AP.
While acknowledging the disadvantages the possible sanctions may bring, Jin Liangxiang, a researcher with the Department for West Asian and African Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said the US sanctions will not work in the long-term.
"The US is trying to create pressure on Iran by using its financial hegemony over other countries, which is part of its dual-track policy. But Iran will come up with a solution to avoid too much reliance on the dollar in its oil trade," Jin told the Global Times.
If the US penalizes China in this way, it would not be a totally bad thing because to some extent, it will push forward the internationalization of the yuan, Jin added.
Ni Feng, a researcher at the Institute of American Studies under the CASS, said the US will not be able to bear the after-effects of a financial dispute with China, adding that both China and the US seek to bring the Iranian nuclear program under control, but have divergent opinions on how to reach the goal.
Liu expressed hope on Monday that all parties concerned will show further flexibility and pragmatism in the upcoming talk on Iran's nuclear program between Iran and six world powers, which is scheduled to take place on June 18 to 19.
Xinhua contributed to this story
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