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Beijing Denounces US Sanctions on 5 Chinese Companies - 2003-07-04

China has denounced a U.S. move to impose sanctions on five Chinese companies. Washington accuses the companies of selling items to Iran that could contribute to Iran's development of weapons of mass destruction. China denies the charges, and called the sanctions "unreasonable."

The Chinese Foreign Ministry says that it has expressed "strong dissatisfaction and stern opposition" to the sanctions.

U.S. officials say the companies had sold sensitive arms to Iran, a charge China denies. Chinese officials say China has strict military trade and export control policies, and has forbidden companies to sell products for use in weapons of mass destruction.

The United States announced the sanctions on Thursday when it also renewed sanctions on a North Korean company. The State Department accused the firms of violating the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000, which prohibits the sale of sensitive weapons to Tehran.

Beijing claimed Washington was trying to impose its laws and policies on other nations, saying such a move is unreasonable.

The sanctions remain in effect for two years. They ban U.S. government contracts and assistance to the companies, and restrict their exports to the United States.