With tensions already flaring up between China and the US after the former came out in open support to Russia over its stance on Ukraine amid growing differences with the US over its Taiwan policy, the Chines administration has announced to slap sanctions on top US defence manufacturers Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp.
The sanctions come following arms sales to Taiwan by the US companies. This is the third time China has announced punishments against US companies. The sanctions are countermeasures against the two companies over a $100-million Feb. 7 arms sale that “undermined China's security interests, seriously undermined China-U.S. relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular news briefing.
Beijing views the self-ruled island of Taiwan as a breakaway province that must accept Chinese sovereignty and has never renounced the use of force to achieve that goal.
“In accordance with the relevant stipulations in China's anti-foreign sanctions law, the Chinese government has decided to take countermeasures on the infringing acts of Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin,” Wang said.
“Both are military enterprises that have long participated in U.S. arms sales to China's Taiwan region.” No further details were given on the nature of the sanctions.
This is the first time the companies have faced sanctions under China's new anti-foreign sanctions law drawn up last year in response to U.S. sanctions against Chinese companies.
On at least two previous occasions China has announced sanctions against Lockheed and Raytheon, in 2019 and 2020, though Beijing has not explained what those sanctions entailed or how they were enforced.
Although the United States does not sell weapons to China, it is bound by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, and US weapons sales always attract China's anger.
China has over the past two years stepped up its military and diplomatic pressure against Taiwan, whose government says it wants peace but will defend the island if attacked.
China regularly says Taiwan is the most important and sensitive issue in its ties with Washington, which are also strained over trade and human rights disputes.