The government and Chinese companies will cut business ties with US firms selling arms to Taiwan, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, declining to give details of the sanctions in a move likely to worsen already poor ties with Washington.
Last week, the Pentagon said the US Department of State had approved the sale of the weapons requested by Taiwan, including 108 General Dynamics Corp M1A2T Abrams tanks and 250 Stinger missiles, which are manufactured by Raytheon.
The latest deal involves US$2.2 billion of tanks, missiles and related equipment for Taiwan.
China on Friday said that it would sanction US companies selling weapons to Taiwan, but did not elaborate.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) said the arms sales were a violation of international law and harmed China’s sovereignty and national security.
“China’s government and Chinese companies will not cooperate or have commercial contacts with these US companies,” he told a daily news briefing in Beijing. “I can’t reveal the details at the moment, but believe this — Chinese people always stress standing by their word.”
The Chinese Communist Party’s official People’s Daily on Sunday posted an article on its WeChat account identifying US companies that could be vulnerable to sanctions.
They included Honeywell International, which makes the engines for the Abrams tanks, and private jet maker Gulfstream Aerospace, which is owned by General Dynamics.
China is an important market for both Honeywell and Gulfstream.
China has said it would sanction US companies selling weapons to Taiwan before — in 2010 and 2015 — but it is unclear if the sanctions were ever imposed.
US defense contractors have been barred from dealings with Beijing since the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989.
In related news, the US House of Representatives voted to support the US$2.2 billion arms sale as a message to Beijing: “Don’t mess with Taiwan,” House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Michael McCaul told Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures.
After host Maria Bartiromo introduced McCaul as “one of the lawmakers to meet with the Taiwanese president,” she asked him about his discussions with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in New York City.
China is increasingly aggressive in Taiwan and Tsai told him that Beijing is likely to interfere in Taiwan’s next presidential election with the aim of installing a “Chinese puppet,” McCaul replied.
In the 1990s, Chinese intelligence officials gave funds to then-US president Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign via a state-owned aerospace company, McCaul said, adding that Beijing has been interfering in elections for a long time and it is “hitting a hot spot right now.”
“We have to support Taiwan. They stand for freedom and democracy in the region, and that is precisely why chairman [Eliot] Engel and I approved the military sales to Taiwan of US$2.2 billion, so Taiwan can protect themselves from China,” McCaul said.
The sale of Javelin missiles, Abrams tanks and grenades are “very self-defense in posture, but it sends a very strong message to China,” he said.
“As I said to [the Taiwanese] convention Friday night, we say, do not mess with Texas. Do not mess with Taiwan,” he added.
“We are going to arm Taiwan, so she can defend herself from what has become a very aggressive Chinese Communist Party right on their doorstep,” he said.
Additional reporting by Lu Yi-hsuan and Jonathan Chin
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