The Chinese Foreign Ministry has criticised the US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 as being "groundless" actions that violate international law.
"As for Nord Stream 2, the US slapped groundless sanctions on normal cooperation between two sovereign states in accordance with its domestic legislation, something that broke international law and basic norms of international relations", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Monday.
He insisted that Washington's actions once again reflect America's hegemonic thinking and that they will almost surely be opposed by the international community.
The statement echoes that of Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov, who said "the unilateral actions of the Americans against the [Nord Stream 2] project violate international law and contradict the principle of free-market relations".
"From the very beginning, Washington strove to prevent the development of normal energy cooperation between Russia and Europe", Antonov said, adding that the sanctions are "nothing more than an attempt to gain a competitive advantage for its [US] fuel and technology suppliers".
The ambassador also stressed that "today's anti-Russian attacks demonstrate Washington's lack of will to implement the important understandings that were reached between the presidents of the two countries at the June summit in Geneva".
US slaps sanctions on Nord Stream 2
He spoke after the US Treasury Department on Friday announced a number of sanctions against two Russian companies and two vessels over their involvement in Nord Stream 2.
The new restrictive measures target the Russian insurance company Konstanta and the firm Nobility, along with the Nobility-linked vessel Ostap Sheremeta. Also being targeted is the Russian-flagged vessel Ivan Sidorenko, according to the Treasury Department.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration lifted US sanctions against Nord Stream 2, imposed in 2019, claiming that the White House had decided not to obstruct the pipeline's construction because it realised sanctions would not work and because Washington wanted to avoid alienating Berlin.
Russia has repeatedly underscored that Nord Stream 2 is a completely commercial project and its primary aim is to diversify energy streams to Europe.
When completed, the pipeline will carry 55 billion cubic metres of gas a year from Russia directly to Germany across the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine. The project's implementation is being financed by the Russian energy giant Gazprom, Germany's Uniper and Wintershall, as well as France's Engie, Austria's OMV, and the UK-Dutch concern Royal Dutch Shell.