BEIJING, Dec 28 (AFP): China reacted angrily Wednesday to the United States imposing sanctions on six Chinese companies for allegedly supplying Iran with military equipment and technology, demanding the trade bans be lifted.
"We are strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to the US government sanctioning Chinese companies," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
"The Chinese government has always adopted a serious and responsible attitude on the anti-proliferation issue, and has adopted a series of effective measures to strengthen export management and control."
The US move was not beneficial to the two countries' cooperation in the non-proliferation field, the ministry warned.
"We request the United States change this wrongful action," it said.
The United Sates announced Tuesday that the six Chinese companies, along with two others from India and one from Austria, had been sanctioned for weapons and technology transfers to Iran.
US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters the entities were sanctioned based on "credible information" that they transferred equipment and technologies to Iran.
"They are serial offenders," Ereli said, adding that missile builder China North Industries Corp. (NORINCO) was a repeat offender.
The sanctions, which ban the companies from doing business with the US government and US companies, were based on the Iran Non-Proliferation Act of 2000, which aims at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.
The United States has accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear arms under the cover of its civilian nuclear energy programme.
NORINCO, a leading Chinese defense industry conglomerate which has had US sanctions placed on it previously, said Wednesday the accusations were groundless and demanded it be allowed to trade freely.