American companies including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon will be sanctioned by China over the companies being engaged in selling weapons to Taiwan.
The United States was urged to stop selling arms to the self-governed island of Taiwan and to sever all military ties with the government in Taipei by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a press conference on Monday.
The announcement of sanctions on the American companies is the latest in the long drawn tensions between the United States and China related to Taiwan. According to Beijing, Taiwan is an integral part of its territory even though the self-governed island has never been under the direct control of China’s ruling Communist Party. Beijing has however threatened to use force if necessary to assert its control over Taiwan.
“We will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty and security interests,” Zhao said. The sale of arms to Taiwan by the US companies “seriously violate” the one-China principle and is a threat to the security interests of China.
China did not announce the exact details of the sanctions. However, Zhao said that the sanctions will apply to “relevant US individuals and entities that played a negative role in the arms sales.”
Major American companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing’s defense contractor business, and Raytheon were specifically named to be the companies that would be affected by the sanctions.
Saying that they were “unproductive”, China’s threat of sanctions was condemned by US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.
“We deplore Beijing’s efforts to retaliate against US and foreign companies for their sales that support Taiwan’s legitimate self-defense requirements, the necessity of which has been made abundantly clear through increasingly hostile incursions by [China’s air force],” she said.
The issue was one for governments to resolve, Boeing said.
“The US government decides on which defense systems to provide Taiwan and then makes the arrangements with the Department of Defense for the provision of such equipment,” a Boeing spokesperson told CNN Business. “Foreign military sales to any country or entity is a direct contractual obligation between the purchaser and the US government/Department of Defense.”
Foreign military sales are “government-to-government transactions”, said Lockheed Martin and emphasized that the company works closely with US leadership.
“Lockheed Martin adheres to United States government policy with regard to conducting business with foreign governments,” a spokesperson said. “We do business with more than 70 nations around the world, and all of our international sales are strictly regulated by the US government.”
No comments on the issue were available from Raytheon.
Efforts to strengthen ties with Taiwan have been made by the Trump administration in the past year which included an increase in sale of arms and facilitating high-level meetings between US and Taiwan officials.
(Adapted from CNN.com)