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China against sanctions and threats in international policy -- FM

China opposes the international practice of "raising the question of sanctions and threatening to impose them at the first opportunity", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Wednesday.

Commenting on Beijing's stance on new sanctions imposed by the United States on Russian businesses and possible tougher sanctions discussed in the European Union, the spokesman said in a written statement obtained by ITAR-TASS: "We hope that all parties concerned will resolve existing problems through dialogue and negotiations, and trade and economic relations will not be turned into a political issue."

Last week, the White House announced a significant escalation in sanctions against Russia, with measures targeting some of the country's largest energy corporations and banks as punishment for Moscow's alleged reluctance to curb violence in Ukraine.

The targets of the US sanctions include two major Russian energy firms: Novatek, the country's largest independent natural gas producer, and Rosneft, Russia's major petroleum company and third largest gas producer. The penalties bar both from getting long-term loans from US entities.

Also targeted were leading Russian financial institutions: Russian development bank VEB and Gazprombank, banking arm of Russia's state energy giant Gazprom. The sanctions ban them from access to US capital markets.

The new U.S. sanctions package also includes restrictions on several officials, in particular, Russian State Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei Neverov, Minister for Crimean Affairs Oleg Savelyev, and Russian presidential aide Igor Shchegolev.

[Source: Itar Tass, Beijing, 23Jul14]

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