UPDATE 1-China says exports to Russia in line with its law, regulations

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By Joe Cash

BEIJING, Feb 9 (Reuters) - China has always required its firms to strictly abide by domestic laws and regulations, a commerce ministry spokesperson said on Thursday, when asked if China had exported navigation equipment, jamming technology and fighter-jet parts to Russia.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that Chinese state-owned defence companies had provided technology, including navigation equipment, communication jamming technology and aircraft parts that Russia's military needs, citing Russian customs records.

"The Chinese government has always required enterprises to strictly comply with national export control and other laws and regulations ... and ensure that relevant exports are in line with China's national security interests and international interests," ministry of commerce spokesperson Shu Jueting told a regular briefing.

China's state-owned assets regulator did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

China's Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, which came into force in June 2021, grants Chinese companies a legal basis for side-stepping international sanctions that have a detrimental impact on Chinese entities and results in them only having to comply with domestic laws and regulations.

The Group of Seven member states are discussing placing sanctions on companies in China, Iran and North Korea they believe to be providing Russia with military equipment, according to a report by Bloomberg.

China has consistently voiced opposition to what it considers to be "unilateral sanctions".

It has been over a year since Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a strategic partnership with no "forbidden areas" of cooperation.

While China has repeatedly called for a ceasefire in Ukraine, it has refrained from condemning Russian military operation there or called it an "invasion".

China-Russia trade hit a record 1.28 trillion yuan ($190 billion) last year, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics, accounting for 3% of China's total trade. The Wall Street Journal and the South China Morning Post have both subsequently reported that among China's exports were parts and technologies with dual-use military applications.

Russia hosted Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu in Moscow last week. Mutual political trust between China and Russia has continued to deepen, China's foreign ministry said in a statement following the trip. (Reporting by Joe Cash and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Robert Birsel)