China said it may limit its “counterproliferation” work with Washington over U.S. steps to punish an accused violator of Iran sanctions, Reuters reports.
China’s foreign ministry on Wednesday said Beijing “resolutely opposes” new U.S. actions to target Li Fangwei, a Chinese entrepreneur described by the Treasury Department as a “known proliferator for Iran’s ballistic missile program.” Treasury on Tuesday announced penalties against eight firms operated by Li, and the State Department announced a $5 million bounty in a bid to detain him, Reuters reported separately.
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday accused Li of evading prior U.S. penalties through an expanding array of front firms, the Wall Street Journal reported. They seized $6.9 million in money linked to the alleged proliferator, according to Reuters.
David Cohen, Treasury Department under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the United States “will continue vigorously to enforce [its] sanctions, even as we explore the possibility of a comprehensive deal addressing Iran’s nuclear program.”
Beijing is one of five governments working with Washington in an ongoing multilateral dialogue on Iran’s nuclear program. Washington and other Western governments hope the talks will lead to long-term limits on Iran’s weapon-usable nuclear activities, though Tehran insists its atomic intentions are peaceful.
“The U.S. [actions against Li] won’t help solve the problem and will also impair our nonproliferation cooperation,” the Journal quoted foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang as saying. “We urge the U.S. to stop sanctions of companies and individuals and come back to the right track of nonproliferation cooperation.”
He added that Beijing closely monitors its own trade rules and would “seriously deal” with any breaches, Reuters reported.
Li has asserted innocence in the past, but he was unavailable on Tuesday to respond to the latest U.S. actions.
What We're Following See More »
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal to the "federal disclosure rules for political advertising," leaving in place the ruling by a lower court upholding a law requiring the disclosure of donors to political ads. The appeal came from "a Denver-based libertarian think tank that wanted to run an ad without being forced to divulge its major donors," which argued that the requirement was a violation of first amendment rights under the Court's Citizens United decision.
"The Trump administration is proposing a budget it says will increase defense spending by $54 billion and cut non-defense spending by the same amount. The White House is sending a topline budget proposal reflecting those figures to federal agencies on Monday afternoon, according to an Office of Management and Budget official." An unnamed OMB official said most federal agencies would face cutbacks.
Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Saturday that he would not attend the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in April. The move did not come as a surprise, another moment in his ongoing battle with the media, which he has dubbed the "enemy" of the American people and repeatedly refers to as "fake news." Multiple outlets have already cancelled their events surrounding the dinner and several are considering skipping the event outright.
Phillip Bilden, Donald Trump's nominee for Navy secretary, has decided to withdraw his nomination after he was unable to sufficiently untangle his financial commitments. Bilden follows Vincent Viola, who withdrew his nomination for Army secretary.