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Beijing Rejects US Sanctions on Chinese Companies

Beijing officials are voicing objections to U.S. sanctions on Chinese companies that allegedly help Iran build weapons of mass destruction. The penalties bar the companies from doing business with the U.S. government for two-years.

China's Foreign Ministry calls the U.S. sanctions on eight companies unreasonable. In a written statement the Foreign Ministry says Beijing opposes the use and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The statement says that China abides by its non-proliferation commitments, and carefully monitors exports of technology.

Beijing's response comes a day after the State Department released a list of companies it says sell Iran equipment or technology that could aid in developing weapons.

The list names eight companies in China, and two each in Moldova and Armenia. The State Department sanctions will last two years and ban the companies from doing business with the U.S. government.

Robert Karniol, the Asia-Pacific editor of Jane's Defense Weekly, says the United States has for years tried to bring China into nonproliferation agreements, such as the Missile Technology Control Regime, which limits exports of longer-range missiles. He says China resents what it sees as Washington's double standards. "This effort by the U.S. in China, and elsewhere, to push the nonproliferation agenda, some analysts consider essentially a diversionary tactic to take attention away from their own lack of commitment to disarmament," Mr. Karniol said.

Beijing has repeatedly condemned Washington's withdrawal last year from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, saying that unilateral moves only worsen the problem of arms proliferation.