Beijing has summoned the acting top US diplomat in China in response to Washington slapping sanctions on 14 of its officials over China’s crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong through its national security law.

On Tuesday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang summoned the charge d’affaires of the US Embassy in Beijing in what he called a “solemn protest” over the new sanctions.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that both the Chinese government and the public strongly condemned the “outrageous, unscrupulous, crazy and vile act of the US.”

Hua vowed that Beijing would take“firm counter-measures” against the US and its interference in the affairs of China and Hong Kong.

The sanctions imposed by the US and China’s summoning of the diplomat are just the latest moves in ongoing tense relations between the two states, which have deteriorated in recent months over multiple issues, including trade and Hong Kong.

READ MORE: Beijing preparing ‘firm countermeasures’ after US sanctions Chinese officials over Hong Kong

On Monday, Washington imposed financial and travel restrictions on 14 Chinese officials over their alleged roles in ousting elected Hong Kong legislators last month, and for implementing Beijing’s national security law in the territory in June. The legislation sparked major protests in Hong Kong, as well as outcry from Western governments. 

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