05:16 GMT +328 September 2016
US President Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping walk from the White House to a working dinner at Blair House, on September 24, 2015 in Washington, DC.

US Sanctions on Chinese Firm Unlikely to Strain Ties With Beijing

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Beijing is unlikely to let US sanctions against a Chinese company and four Chinese nationals damage its relationship with Washington, US Defense Trade Advisory Group member Lawrence Ward told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Monday, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Company Ltd (DHID) and four of its executives allegedly tied to North Korea’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The US Justice Department, in addition, filed charges against DHID and its executives for money laundering and conspiring to evade sanctions.

"China certainly is not happy that the United States is using its long arm of the law to reach a Chinese company but China also very publicly disapproves of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and so it is hard to imagine that China would allow this action to muddy the waters much," Ward said on Tuesday.

The sanctions likely will not have a major impact on US-Chinese relations, Ward suggested, especially considering Washington has made it clear that it will not tolerate those that work to assist North Korea’s "military regime."

Ward warned that members of US Congress, however, might believe that the Chinese government has ties to DHID and its support of North Korea.

The prosecution and conviction of DHID executives by US authorities will take time, Ward added, but might affect perceptions of Chinese investors.

"Chinese companies that want to invest in the United States or that seek US investment certainly may take lessons from any resulting convictions," Ward explained.

For Chinese companies that want to partner with North Korea on these illicit activities, on the other hand, these actions by the United States will likely have minimal impact, Ward claimed.

"Certainly, though, were the Chinese government to prosecute these individuals the impact might be quite different," Ward stated.

US actions, he concluded, may prompt China to work more quickly with the UN on sanctions in response to North Korean missile tests.

In March, the UN Security Council tightened sanctions on North Korea after a series of nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

The Defense Trade Advisory Group, established by an act of the US Congress, is comprised of private sector experts appointed by the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs to advise the Department of State on global security-related trade matters.

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