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China to Sanction U.S. Defense Contractors Supplying Weapons to Taiwan

Soldiers sit on an M60A3 tank for a group photograph after an anti-invasion drill in Taichung, Taiwan January 17, 2019. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

China said Monday that it will sanction U.S. defense contractors including Lockheed Martin and Boeing’s defense division that are involved in Washington’s sale of weapons to Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the sanctions will also apply to Raytheon Technologies, among other “relevant American individuals” involved in supplying weapons to the small democratic state, which China claims as a territory.

The State Department last week approved the $1.8 billion arms sale to Taiwan of three weapons systems including sensors, missiles, and artillery.

“In order to safeguard national interests, China decided to impose sanctions on the American companies that were involved in arms sales to Taiwan,” Zhao said at a press briefing.

Zhao said Beijing “firmly opposes” the arms sales, which “severely damage Chinese sovereignty and security interests.” He called the sanctions “necessary measures” for “those individuals and companies who behaved badly in the process of the arms sales” and called on the U.S. government to “stop arms sales to Taiwan and stop any military interaction with Taiwan.”

Beijing has yet to outline the details of the sanctions.

The foreign ministry spokesman previously announced vague sanctions on Lockheed Martin in July after Washington signed off on another arms deal with Taiwan, a $620 million weapons package.

China has threatened to use force to keep Taiwan in line and has ramped up its military activity around the island this year. The U.S. is Taiwan’s main ally and arms supplier, although Washington’s formal diplomatic ties are with Beijing.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry lamented the announcement from Beijing but said the country will not halt weapons deals with the U.S.

“In the face of China’s military threats and intimidation, our government has a responsibility to safeguard the security of the Taiwanese people,” the foreign ministry said.

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