The US Department Of Treasury has announced sanctions on six Chinese companies, including subsidiaries of state-run shipping giant Cosco Shipping, as well as their officials for allegedly violating US sanctions by transporting Iranian oil.
The sanctions are the latest move by the US government to intensify its “maximum pressure campaign” against Iran, and targets Cosco subsidiaries Cosco Shipping Tanker Dalian and Cosco Shipping Tanker Dalian Seaman and Ship Management, as well as the Kunlun companies Kunlun Holding, Kunlun Shipping and Pegasus 88. Oil trader China Concord Petroleumi also on Washington’s list.
The Department Of Treasury said the sanctions do not apply to the parent company Cosco Shipping Corporation and other subsidiaries of the group.
Cosco Shipping Tanker Dalian is a unit of Cosco Shipping Energy Transportation (CSET), which operates over 120 tankers. CSET today called a halt on trading on both the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges. Kunlun, meanwhile, has been one of the largest carriers of Iranian crude to China over the past 18 months.
In April, China, one of the largest importers of Iranian oil, slammed the US government’s decision to cancel exemptions granted last year to buyers of Iranian oil that include China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey.
“China strongly opposes the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US. The Chinese government is committed to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang.
The Chinese foreign ministry has yet to comment on the latest sanctions. An official from Cosco declined to comment on the matter.
Beijing has been strengthening its strategic ties with Tehran, ignoring the US efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic from global markets. The two countries recently agreed to update a 25-year program signed in 2016 to include an unprecedented $400bn of investment in Iran.