US should stop playing role of cop

Updated: 2014-05-06 07:30

By Wang Honggang (China Daily)

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On April 29, the United States government accused Chinese businessman Li Fangwei of opening shell companies to sell missile parts to Iran, a country under US sanctions. Moreover, the US State Department has announced a $5-million reward for any person providing information leading to Li's arrest.

The US government had reportedly imposed restrictions on Li and his companies citing the same reasons in 2011 and 2013. But this is the first time that it has announced a reward for his arrest.

The US government's accusations which are groundless to begin with against a foreign citizen are based on its domestic laws instead of UN resolutions. They reflect the US' economic unilateralism and power politics, which will have negative effects on China's financial security.

As a "silent but deadly" measure, economic sanctions play an instrumental role in the US foreign policies. By imposing such sanctions, the US aims to interfere in and alter the normal economic activities of other countries or non-American enterprises. Some examples of such sanctions are trade boycott and embargo, and freezing of financial assets of a country or enterprise. Recent decades have seen an increase in the use of economic sanctions by the US; in fact, it has imposed them quite frequently on "troubled countries" such as Iran, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Syria and Sudan.

Washington has accused Li of supplying missile parts to Teheran because he seems to have violated certain rules pertaining to the US' unilateral sanctions against Iran. Directly related to the US policy on nonproliferation and containment of Iran, these rules have forced many financial institutions such as Standard Chartered Bank and Deutsche Bank to sever their business ties with Teheran and pay huge fines for "violating" them.

The US' unsolicited allegations or sanctions against other countries are against UN norms, even though many of the victim countries and enterprises are reluctant to challenge them. In Iran's case, the US has unilaterally extended the previous UN sanctions citing violation of nonproliferation norms. This has hurt Iran's economy and society, and even the normal business connections between Iran and other countries.

Such sanctions are unlikely to endanger US businesses in Iran, though, because of the tense Washington-Teheran relationship and the limited commercial intercourse between them. But the sanctions pose a threat to many companies in China, Japan and Europe that are deeply engaged in trade with Iran.

The US has used its dwindling dominance in the global financial field to unilaterally impose sanctions on other countries. Actually, the US has been practising unilateralism in diplomacy since the end of the Cold War when the collapse of the Soviet Union made it the sole superpower. Since its global military dominance is on the decline, the US has started exploiting the intensified globalization process by imposing economic sanctions on other countries, even some major ones, to force them to comply with its policies.

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