China Will Not Join Sanctions on Russia, Banking Regulator Says

Guo Shuqing, Chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), attends a news conference in Beijing, China, March 2, 2021. (Reuters)
Guo Shuqing, Chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), attends a news conference in Beijing, China, March 2, 2021. (Reuters)
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China Will Not Join Sanctions on Russia, Banking Regulator Says

Guo Shuqing, Chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), attends a news conference in Beijing, China, March 2, 2021. (Reuters)
Guo Shuqing, Chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), attends a news conference in Beijing, China, March 2, 2021. (Reuters)

China will not join in sanctions on Russia that have been led by the West, the country's banking regulator said on Wednesday, adding that he believed the impact of the measures on China would be limited.

China, which has refused to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine, has repeatedly criticized what it calls illegal and unilateral sanctions.

"As far as financial sanctions are concerned, we do not approve of these, especially the unilaterally launched sanctions because they do not work well and have no legal grounds," Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, told a news conference.

"We will not participate in such sanctions. We will continue to maintain normal economic and trade exchanges with relevant parties," he said.

China and Russia have grown increasingly close in recent years, including as trading partners. Total trade between the two jumped 35.9% last year to a record $146.9 billion, according to Chinese customs data, with Russia serving as a major source of oil, gas, coal and agriculture commodities, running a trade surplus with China.

"The impact from the sanctions on China's economy and financial sector is so far not too significant," Guo added.

"Overall they will not have much impact (on China) even in the future," Guo said, citing the resilience of China's economy and financial sector.



Israeli Polls Show Netanyahu Party Narrowing Gap Behind Gantz 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)
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Israeli Polls Show Netanyahu Party Narrowing Gap Behind Gantz 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right wing Likud party has reduced the gap behind the centrist party of former minister Benny Gantz, who quit the wartime unity government on Sunday, two polls showed on Friday.

The polls, for the left wing Ma'ariv daily and the right-wing Israel Hayom newspaper, showed Likud winning 21 seats behind the National Unity Party on 24. The Ma'ariv poll last week showed Gantz's party on 27 seats, while at the start of the year, it was regularly polling in the high 30s.

The Ma'ariv poll shows the current ruling coalition winning 52 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, against 58 for the main opposition parties, with the balance of 10 seats held by the United Arab List and the left-wing Hadash-Ta'al alliance.

The Israel Hayom poll put the coalition on 50 seats against 61 for the opposition parties and 9 for the UAL and Hadash-Ta'al.

Both polls showed a majority of voters would prefer Gantz as prime minister in a head-to-head choice with Netanyahu. However, the Israel Hayom poll showed that if former prime minister Naftali Bennett were to join forces with Avigdor Liberman and Gideon Saar, two other center right politicians from outside the Likud camp, their alliance could beat both Likud and Gantz's National Unity Party.

Gantz, a former army general and defense minister in the last government, joined Netanyahu's coalition last year as a gesture of national unity following the devastating attack by Hamas on Oct 7.

However, he clashed repeatedly with other ministers and quit the government after demanding Netanyahu articulate a clear strategic plan for the war in Gaza, now in its ninth month.

Netanyahu, who was widely blamed for the security failures that allowed the Oct. 7 attack to take place, has refused to call early elections and would not normally face voters until 2026 if his coalition with a clutch of religious and right-wing pro-settler parties holds.