Pakistan protests ‘erroneous’ US sanctions on Chinese firms over missile program allegations

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Pakistan protests ‘erroneous’ US sanctions on Chinese firms over missile program allegations

Pakistan criticized the United States on Saturday for penalizing four international companies on charges they are aiding its ballistic missile program.

“Pakistan rejects political use of export controls,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch.

The reaction came a day after Washington imposed sanctions on three Chinese companies and one Belarus-based firm for their alleged links to Islamabad’s missile development program.

“These entities have supplied missile‐applicable items to Pakistan’s ballistic missile program, including its long-range missile program,” the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

It noted that the sanctions are part of U.S. efforts to disrupt and target “proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery” and strengthen the global nonproliferation “regime.”

“Such listings of commercial entities have taken place in the past as well on allegations of links to Pakistan’s ballistic missile program without sharing any evidence whatsoever,” Baloch said.

“We have pointed out many times the need to avoid (the) arbitrary application of export controls and for discussions between concerned parties for an objective mechanism to avoid erroneous sanctions on (the) technology needed purely for socio-economic development pursuits,” she added.

Baloch renewed Islamabad’s readiness to discuss “end-use and end-user verification mechanisms so that legitimate commercial users are not hurt by discriminatory application of export controls.

She asserted that Pakistan has in the past come across instances where mere suspicions led to the blacklisting of foreign companies.

The U.S. identified the alleged suppliers to Islamabad’s ballistic missile program as China-based Xi’an Longde Technology Development Company Limited, Tianjin Creative Source International Trade Co. Ltd., Granpect Company Limited, and Belarus-based Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant.

Under the U.S. executive order, all assets, properties, and interests in properties of the sanctioned companies located within the United States or controlled by U.S. citizens must be blocked and reported to the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC.

The listing makes it illegal for any individual or entity within the United States, or any U.S. citizen to engage in any transactions involving property or interests in property of designated or blocked companies unless authorized by a specific or general license issued by OFAC or exempted.

Without naming the U.S. or any other country, Baloch stated that “the same jurisdictions” claiming “strict adherence” to the nonproliferation of weapons and military technologies would sometimes make exceptions “for some countries” and have even waived licensing requirements to help them obtain advanced military equipment.

“Such discriminatory approaches and double standards are undermining the credibility of nonproliferation regimes and accentuating military asymmetries, which, in turn, undermine the objectives of regional and global peace and security,” she said. “This is leading to arms buildup (in the region).”

Baloch was apparently referring to Washington’s close military and nuclear cooperation with Pakistan’s archrival India. The nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors have fought three wars, and their decades-old territorial dispute over the divided Kashmir region remains the primary source of mutual tensions.

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