China supports Venezuelan efforts to defend its sovereignty and is opposed to abusing international sanctions, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing, according to Reuters.
China will take necessary measures to safeguard companies rights and interests, Hua said.
The United States imposed sanctions on Monday on Chinese firm China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation (CEIEC), accusing it of supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts to undermine democracy.
The US Treasury Department claimed in a statement the Chinese company supported the government of Maduro in its “efforts to restrict internet service and conduct digital surveillance and cyber operations against political opponents”.
“The United States will not hesitate to target anyone helping to suppress the democratic will of the Venezuelan people and others around the world,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.
Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry called the move “illegal” and said in a statement it was aimed at “isolating the country and generating difficulties for the Venezuelan population”.
CEIEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The US Treasury said CEIEC had been supporting the Maduro government since 2017 and had provided software, training and technical expertise to entities of Venezuela’s government, including CANTV.
Washington in January 2019 recognized Venezuelan politician Juan Guaido as the OPEC nation’s rightful leader and has ratcheted up sanctions and diplomatic pressure in the aftermath of Maduro’s 2018 re-election.
Monday’s action freezes any US assets of the Chinese firm and generally bars Americans from dealing with it. The Treasury also issued a license authorizing the “wind down” of transactions with the Chinese company until Jan. 14.