China adopts a new law on external relations to counter foreign pressure and give a legal basis for retaliatory measures

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China’s top diplomatic affairs official said Thursday that the adoption of a new law in China on external relations provides the country with a tool to fend off sanctions and other measures deemed hostile.

The Chinese parliament, which is under the authority of the ruling Communist Party, on Wednesday passed a text aimed at strengthening China’s response in the face of foreign pressure, and in particular giving a legal basis for retaliatory measures.

This text, which will enter into force on July 1, comes at a time when China is facing US sanctions, especially in the technological field, which it considers an obstacle to its development.

“The Foreign Relations Law is an urgent necessity to safeguard our national sovereignty, security and development interests,” Wang Yi declared.

He added that it would provide China with a legal basis to counter containment measures, intervention, sanctions and any action harmful to Chinese interests.

As the main official in charge of diplomatic issues within the Chinese Communist Party, Wang ranks higher in the hierarchy than Foreign Minister Chen Gang.

Lawyer Maurits Rudolph, a specialist in Chinese affairs at Yale Law School (United States), told AFP that countering foreign sanctions is not the only significance of this law, which remains vague in general.

“The law can be used to defend a political position when China, for example doesn’t implement an international treaty in the name of its sovereignty, national security and interests,” he added.

The text considered a response to the United States, which is escalating its strikes against China, especially in the technology sector.

In recent years, Washington has blacklisted Chinese companies to isolate them from supply chains in US technology, including the most advanced chips.

Washington announced in the name of national security in October new export controls to limit Beijing’s purchase and manufacture of advanced chips used in military applications.

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