International

China ‘to sanction’ U.S. companies

Zhao Lijian   | Photo Credit: AP

China will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defense, Raytheon and other U.S. companies it says are involved in Washington’s arms sales to Taiwan, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday.

The two U.S. giants were involved in a recent sale of nearly $2 billion worth of missiles to Taiwan, alongside Raytheon, and foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian urged the U.S. to stop arms sales to the island.

The status of Taiwan holds potential for conflict between the United States and China, during a wider struggle for technology, security and trade supremacy.

Beijing says Taiwan is an inviolable part of China to be reclaimed, by force if necessary.

Mr. Zhao said the sanctions were “to safeguard national interests” and would apply to those who have “behaved badly in the process of arms sales to Taiwan”.

“We will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty and security interests,” said Mr. Zhao, without giving further details on the sanctions.

Under the administration of President Donald Trump the U.S. has brought Taiwan into play as part of a wider diplomatic and economic squeeze of its rival, sending high-level envoys and boosting arms sales.

The State Department said last week it had approved the sale of 135 air-to-ground missiles, in a move welcomed by Taiwan.

Also approved was the sale of six MS-110 air reconnaissance pods and 11 M142 mobile light rocket launchers, taking the value of the three arms packages to $1.8 billion.

‘Future threats’

Beijing has ramped up diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who views the island as a de facto sovereign nation and not part of “One China”.

A statement from the U.S. State Department last week said the SLAM-ER missiles would help Taiwan “meet current and future threats”.

The missiles provide “all-weather, day and night, precision attack capabilities against both moving and stationary targets” on the ground or ocean, the statement added.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said the weapons would help it “build credible combat capabilities and strengthen the development of asymmetric warfare”.

Chinese fighter jets and bombers have entered Taiwan’s air defence zone with increasing frequency in recent months, while propaganda films have shown simulated attacks on Taiwan-like territories.

China has also launched a diplomatic offensive aimed at courting Taiwan’s few official allies, persuading the Solomon Islands and Kiribati to switch sides last year.

China has sanctioned Lockheed for previous arms sales to Taiwan.

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2020 11:42:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-to-impose-sanctions-on-us-firms-over-taiwan-arms-sales/article32943893.ece

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