China yesterday said it would impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin Corp, a Boeing Co defense unit and other US firms involved in arms sales to Taiwan.
The two US giants were involved in a recent sale of nearly US$2 billion of missiles to Taiwan, alongside Raytheon Technologies Corp.
The status of Taiwan holds potential for conflict between the US and China, amid a wider struggle for technology, security and trade supremacy.
Photo: Tyrone Siu, Reuters
The sanctions are “to safeguard national interests” and would apply to those who have “behaved badly in the process of arms sales to Taiwan,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) said.
“We will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty and security interests,” Zhao said, without giving further details on the sanctions.
Under US President Donald Trump’s administration, Washington 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 US Department of State last week said that 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 US$1.8 billion.
In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “deep regret” in response to Beijing’s threats to sanction US companies involved in Washington’s latest round of arms sales to Taiwan.
“Taiwan has been working hard to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a statement.
“In the face of China’s military threats and coercion, our government has the responsibility to protect its people,” she said.
Taiwan will continue to seek procurements of defense articles from the US in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances,” the guidelines used by Washington to deal with Taiwan, Ou said.
Beijing has ramped up diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
A state department statement 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 Ministry of National Defense said that 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 defense zone with increasing frequency in the past few months, while propaganda films have shown simulated attacks on Taiwan’s territories.
Additional reporting by CNA
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