China criticizes U.S. 'ruthless misappropriation' of Afghan assets

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, on Wednesday criticized Washington's "ruthless freezing or misappropriation" of Afghan assets at a time when Afghanistan battles a humanitarian crisis.

"The practice of arbitrarily handling other countries' overseas assets under domestic law has no precedent," Zhang said at a UN Security Council briefing session on Afghanistan. "It is a breach of Afghanistan's national sovereignty and property, and is a serious contravention of international law."

U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order last month to divert half of the $7 billion worth of Afghan assets frozen by the United States to compensate the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the country, triggering protests across Afghanistan.

The U.S. froze over $9 billion worth of assets belonging to the Afghan central bank after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last August.