China sanctions US defense firms over Taiwan arms sales

AP
TAIWAN. Helicopters fly over with Taiwan national flag during an inauguration celebration of Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te in Taipei, Taiwan, on May 20, 2024. China’s military held exercises surrounding Taiwan on Thursday, May 23, 2024, in what it called punishment for separatist forces seeking independence on the self-governed island where a new president took office this week. / AP

BEIJING, China — China on Wednesday sanctioned 12 U.S. defense-related companies and 10 executives over arms sales to Taiwan in retaliation for earlier American sanctions on Chinese companies tied to Russia.

The entities include units of Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics and other companies. Senior executives of Northrop Grumman Corp. and General Dynamics also were targeted.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the measures came after the U.S. “indiscriminately imposed illegal unilateral sanctions on a number of Chinese entities on the grounds of so-called Russian-related factors” and that the U.S. “continued to sell arms to China’s Taiwan region.”

China claims the self-governed island as its own territory, to be annexed by force if necessary. It has long opposed any weapon sales by the U.S. to the island. While the U.S. does not recognize Taiwan as a country, Washington is obligated by a federal law to ensure the island’s government has the means to defend itself.

Following the inauguration of Taiwan’s new President Lai Ching-te on Monday, China announced sanctions on Boeing Defense, Space and Security and two other U.S. defense companies over arms sales to Taiwan, and against Mike Gallagher, a former Republican representative from Wisconsin who has shown support for the island.

The latest round of sanctions, imposed under China’s Anti-Foreign Sanction Law, will freeze all assets by the businesses inside China and denying the individuals and their immediate family members visas to enter the country, including Hong Kong and Macau. The businesses and individuals will also be banned from doing any business with Chinese firms. It wasn’t immediately clear what impact these actions would have, but such sanctions are often mainly symbolic in nature.

The measures come in addition to those announced last year that barred Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Technologies Corp.’s Raytheon Missiles and Defense from importing goods into China or making new investments in the country.

On May 1, the US imposed new sanctions on hundreds of companies and people tied to Russia’s weapons development program, which included more than a dozen Chinese entities accused of helping Moscow to evade earlier penalties. / AP

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