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US sanctions ‘to hurt Venezuelans’

  • Source: globaltimes
  • Jan.30,2019

China warned on Tuesday that US sanctions against Venezuela's state oil company will hurt the livelihood of ordinary people and complicate the situation in the crisis-hit country.

The sanctions announced Monday hit PDVSA, a state-owned oil firm, as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro faces a challenge from opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has won the backing of the US and other Western nations.

"We oppose unilateral sanctions," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing.

"Historical experience has proved that external interference or sanctions will only complicate the situation and will not help solve practical problems," Geng said.

The sanctions on PDVSA will block $7 billion in assets and could result in a loss of $11 billion in sales next year, US National Security Adviser John Bolton told a White House briefing.

Washington's tough sanctions against Venezuela came days after it recognized the opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president of the Latin American country, denouncing incumbent President Nicolas Maduro who won the elections last year with over two thirds of the votes.

The US Treasury described PDVSA as "a primary source of Venezuela's income and foreign currency" in a statement released later in the day, saying that the blacklist could help "prevent further diverting of Venezuela's assets by Maduro."As a result of Treasury's action, all property and interests in property of PDVSA subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US citizens are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

In an effort to mitigate impact of the designation, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who also attended the White House briefing, told reporters that oil supplies were sufficient to guarantee only "very modest" effect on US gas prices in the short term.

In Monday's statement, the Treasury also declared that the path to sanctions relief is "through the expeditious transfer of control to the Interim President or a subsequent, democratically elected government."Meanwhile, the Treasury has been issuing general licenses that authorize certain transactions and activities related to PDVSA and its subsidiaries within specified timeframes.

The United States, Brazil and some other countries have recognized Guaido's presidency, with US President Donald Trump warning that "all options are on the table."Maduro, in response, announced the severing of "diplomatic and political" ties with the United States. Washington later said that it would conduct diplomatic relations through the government of "interim president."Mnuchin also said in the Treasury's statement that the US will "continue to use the full suite of its diplomatic and economic tools to support" Guaido, head of the National Assembly, who declared himself interim president during an anti-government rally.