China has not joined in the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and its Western allies since 2014.
Beijing’s forces took part in giant Russian war games held earlier this month.
China is fast becoming a manufacturer of sophisticated weaponry in its own right but it remains eager to buy advanced Russian weaponry, especially air defense systems and combat aircraft.
Russia – after years of some reluctance – is now more willing to transfer this sort of weaponry to China.
Moscow has also criticized the sanctions on the Chinese military, warning the US against “playing with fire”.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in a statement: “It would be good for them to remember there is such a concept as global stability which they are thoughtlessly undermining by whipping up tensions in Russian-American ties.”
US officials have said the sanctions are aimed at Russia, and are not intended to undermine other countries’ defense capabilities and similar action against other countries could be considered.
China’s Equipment Development Department (EDD), which is responsible for improving China’s military technology, and its head, Li Shangfu, are sanctioned for completing “significant transactions” with Russia’s state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.
The EDD and Li Shangfu have been added to a Blocked Persons List, meaning any assets they hold in the US are frozen and Americans are “generally prohibited” from doing business with them.
Furthermore, the EDD is denied export licenses and excluded from the American financial system.
The US also blacklisted an additional 33 people and entities associated with Russian military and intelligence.
China and the US countries are currently embroiled in an escalating trade war.
President Donald Trump has imposed three waves of tariffs on about 40% of China’s roughly $500 billion of exports to the US and has also threatened further tariffs.
China has responded with tariffs on about $110 billion of US exports. In 2017, China imported about $130 billion of goods from the US.
There have also been some tensions over disputed territory in the South China Sea, which is subject to overlapping claims by six countries.
China has been accused of militarizing the sea to support its vast claims.
The US says it is “committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific” and has sailed warships close to artificial islands built by China to challenge what it sees as Chinese efforts to restrict freedom of navigation in a strategically important area.
President Donald Trump said the latest round of tariffs was in response to China’s “unfair trade practices”.
He said: “We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly. But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices.”
President Trump also warned that if China retaliated then the US would “immediately pursue phase three” and impose further tariffs on another $267 billion worth of Chinese products.
Such a move would mean almost all of China’s exports to the US would be subject to new duties.
After opening lower, the Shanghai stock market ended the day 1.8% higher, while Tokyo was up 1.4% and Hong Kong gained 0.6%.
In July, the White House increased charges on $34 billion worth of Chinese products. Then last month, the escalating trade war moved up a gear when the US brought in a 25% tax on a second wave of goods worth $16 billion.
President Donald Trump has threatened $100 billion more in China tariffs, in an escalation of a tense trade stand-off.
These would be in addition to the $50 billion worth of US tariffs already proposed on hundreds of Chinese imports.
The president’s proposal comes after China retaliated to that by threatening tariffs on 106 key US products.
The tit-for-tat moves have unsettled global markets in recent weeks.
According to analysts, a full blown trade war between the US and China would not be good for the global economy or markets – and that ongoing behind-the-scenes negotiations between the two giants were crucial.
However, market reaction in Asia trade on April 6 suggested investors were not too troubled by the latest twist, and that trade war fears were somewhat exaggerated.
In China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was in positive territory, up 1.3%. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 was also trading higher in the afternoon session.
The US announced it would impose import taxes of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum. The tariffs would be wide ranging and would include China.
China responded this month with retaliatory tariffs worth $3 billion of its own against the US on a range of goods, including pork and wine. The Chinese government said the move was intended to safeguard its interests and balance losses caused by the new tariffs.
Meanwhile, there had been rumblings the US was preparing to slap between $50 billion and $60 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese-made goods in response to unfair Chinese intellectual property practices, such as those that pressure US companies to share technology with Chinese firms.
The draft details of those import taxes were released last week when the US set out about 1,300 Chinese products it intended to hit with tariffs set at 25% worth some $50 billion.
China responded swiftly by proposing retaliatory tariffs, also worth some $50 billion, on 106 key US products, including soybeans, aircraft parts and orange juice. This set of tariffs was narrowly aimed at politically important sectors in the US, such as agriculture.
On April 5, President Trump’s branded that retaliation by Beijing as “unfair”.
In a statement, he said: “Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers.
“In light of China’s unfair retaliation, I have instructed the USTR (United States Trade Representative) to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate… and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs.”
The president said he had also instructed agricultural officials to implement a plan to protect US farmers and agricultural interests.
China has initiated a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the US tariffs, in what analysts say is a sign that this will be a protracted process.
The WTO circulated the request for consultation to members on April 5, launching a discussion period before the complaint heads to formal dispute settlement process.
Meanwhile, under US law, the proposed set of tariffs against about 1,300 Chinese products must now go under review, including a public notice and comment process, and a hearing.
The hearing is scheduled at the moment for May 15, with post-hearing filings due a week later.