TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China said Monday it would impose new sanctions on U.S. defense contractors Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin over their arms sales to Taiwan, escalating a row with Washington over the Beijing’s security and strategic ambitions.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin announced the move during a daily press briefing, citing a recently passed anti-foreigner sanctions law that came into effect in 2021. This was in response to a US-approved $100 million deal for maintenance of Taiwan‘s missile defense systems by the two companies.
“China once again urges the US government and relevant parties to. . . stop arms sales to Taiwan and sever military ties with Taiwan,” Wang said.
“China will continue to take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty and security interests in accordance with the development of the situation,” he said without giving details.
Taiwan is a democratically self-governing island that Communist-ruled China claims as its own territory. The two sides separated in the middle of the Civil War in 1949.
The United States has no formal relations with Taiwan but is its main ally. It has increased its arms sales in recent years, angering China with the sales. US law requires the government to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself.
Beijing regularly lobbies US companies to try to influence US policy.
In October 2020, Beijing also announced sanctions against Raytheon and other defense contractors and “concerned American individuals”. A day later, the State Department said it had notified Congress of plans for a $2.37 billion sale of Harpoon attack missiles to Taiwan.
It is unclear what sanctions, if any, were imposed. Sales of US arms or military aircraft to Taiwan in 2010, 2015 and 2019 prompted similar sanctions threats.
China maintains that the sale of arms by the United States to Taiwan violates its so-called “one China principle” and the provisions of the agreements between Beijing and Washington.
Tensions over Taiwan have risen as Beijing has stepped up military activity around the island in an attempt to extract concessions from President Tsai Ing-wen’s pro-independence administration. The Communist Party is also using the Chinese mainland’s growing economic weight to pressure other governments to sever diplomatic and unofficial ties with Taiwan.
Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and other defense industry giants face controls on sales to China of military and dual-use technologies with both military and commercial applications. But they also have big civilian companies, and China is a huge market for aviation, among other industries.
Associated Press video producer Liu Zheng contributed to this report from Beijing.
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