BEIJING (AP) -- China on Friday criticized Washington for imposing sanctions on Chinese companies the U.S. says exported missile technology, and accused the United States of hypocrisy for selling nuclear-capable cruise missiles.
The United States announced penalties on three companies it said were engaged in unspecified "missile technology proliferation activities." It said they were barred from U.S. markets and from obtaining technology that can be used to make weapons.
"This is a typical hegemonic action. China strongly deplores and firmly opposes it," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian. "China urges the United States to immediately correct its mistakes, revoke the relevant sanctions and stop suppressing Chinese enterprises and smearing China."
China accounted for about 5% of global weapons exports in 2016-20, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The United States was the top global exporter, accounting for 37% of the total in 2016-20.
Cruise missiles and long-range ballistic missiles are regarded as among China's strengths in weapons technology.
Zhao defended Beijing's controls on weapons exports. He said China opposes proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and strictly controls exports of missiles.
"Normal cooperation between China and relevant countries doesn't violate any international law and doesn't involve proliferation" of weapons of mass destruction, Zhao said.
Zhao pointed to U.S. plans to sell Australia's government Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
"The United States has overtly pursued double standards," Zhao said.
The latest U.S. penalties apply to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. First Academy, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. Fourth Academy and Poly Technologies Inc. and their subsidiaries.