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(Global Times) To maintain its relations with Iran, a key partner on energy and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China is unlikely to submit to unilateral sanctions by the US on Iranian oil exports, Chinese analysts said on Saturday, though some Chinese companies doing business with Iran feel the pressure. |
The White House announced on April 21 that it would end oil purchase waivers by May 2 to Iran's five main customers, China, India, Turkey, Japan and South Korea, cutting Iran's access to its main source of foreign currency revenue.
Observers noted that China's energy security won't be affected too much since it has multiple overseas energy suppliers and diversified options for energy products, but this issue could become a new bargaining chip for the US in trade talks with China.
According to nasdaq.com, the latest price for Brent crude oil dropped to $70.85 on Friday from $73.80 on April 23.
Bai Ming, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce's International Market Research Institute, said that the US doesn't want to see the international oil market panic, so it will ask other oil exporters and its allies, like Saudi Arabia, to maintain supply. "China has multiple overseas oil suppliers, so the US sanctions won't have a huge impact on China's energy security."
China is Iran's biggest oil customer, importing about 22 million tons of crude oil from Iran in 2018. But this only accounts for 6.3 percent of China's total crude oil imports, making Iran the seventh among China's overseas oil suppliers, the Xinhua News Agency reported in January.
However, it doesn't mean China will submit to the US and cut off its energy trade ties with Iran, because Iran is a key partner of China in economy, politics and security, as well as a key supporter of the China-proposed BRI, Hua Liming, a Middle East studies expert and a former Chinese ambassador to Iran, told the Global Times.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on April 22 that China opposes the unilateral sanctions and so-called "long-arm jurisdictions" imposed by the US.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday called for the country to "resist and unite" against US pressure in what he called a "war on hope" against the Islamic Republic, AFP reported on Saturday.
Rouhani vowed that Iran would continue to supply oil to its major customers.
"Iran has the experience to deal with US sanctions. For example, it has a very close relationship with Iraq, and there are pipelines linking the two countries, so Iran could export its oil through Iraq, and China and other customers of Iranian oil could maintain their cooperation with Iran to some extent," Hua noted.