China to Sanction U.S. Weapons Makers Over Taiwan Sales -- 2nd Update
By Chun Han Wong
HONG KONG -- China said it will sanction three American defense
contractors over proposed arms sales to Taiwan, retaliating against
U.S. efforts to deepen security ties with the island democracy that
Beijing claims as its territory.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Monday that
Beijing has decided to impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin Corp.,
Boeing Co.'s defense division and Raytheon Technologies Corp., as
well as other U.S. entities involved in the planned $1.8 billion
The U.S. State Department last week approved proposals to sell
missiles, rocket artillery, aerial reconnaissance sensors and
related gear to Taiwan -- the Trump administration's latest effort
to put pressure on China through closer defense ties with
China "firmly opposes" and condemns U.S. arms sales to Taiwan,
which "severely damage Chinese sovereignty and security interests,"
Mr. Zhao said at a routine briefing on Monday, calling on
Washington to cease weapons deals and military cooperation with
While portraying the sanctions as necessary measures to
safeguard China's national interests, Mr. Zhao didn't elaborate on
the specifics or timing. He had similarly withheld details in July,
when he announced sanctions on Lockheed Martin in response to
Washington's approval of a $620 million upgrade package for
Taiwan's Patriot surface-to-air missiles.
China's Communist Party has long sought to assimilate Taiwan
with the Chinese mainland, saying it will use force if necessary.
Beijing has ramped up patrols and drills around Taiwan this year,
in what Taiwanese authorities describe as intimidation tactics.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has pledged to strengthen the
island's armed forces, including by acquiring asymmetric combat
capabilities to counter Beijing's raw advantages.
Lockheed Martin, the world's largest defense company by sales,
said its presence in China is limited, adding, "Foreign military
sales are government-to-government transactions and we work closely
with the U.S. government on any military sales to international
Boeing said it remained committed to its partnership with China,
one of the biggest markets for its jetliners. China has to sign off
on changes to the grounded 737 MAX and hosts many Boeing suppliers,
as well as facilities working on passenger and cargo jets. Raytheon
and the U.S. State Department didn't immediately respond to
requests for comment.
Taiwan's Foreign Ministry expressed regret over Beijing's
decision to impose sanctions. "In the face of China's military
threats and intimidation, our government has a responsibility to
safeguard the security of the Taiwanese people," the ministry said,
adding that Taipei will continue to seek arms sales from
The sanctions are expected to have limited impact, as U.S.
defense companies are broadly barred from making military sales to
China. Lockheed Martin has sold civilian helicopters to Chinese
buyers through its Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. unit. China is a key
market for Boeing commercial aircraft, but the planned sanctions
target only the company's defense arm.
China and the U.S. have been exchanging blows as ties
deteriorate over issues spanning trade, technological competition,
global influence and Washington's cozying up with Taiwan.
Chinese officials have described Taiwan as the most sensitive
issue in U.S.-China relations, and have repeatedly warned
Washington not to use Taipei as leverage against Beijing. The
Communist Party has sought control of Taiwan since Mao Zedong's
forces seized power in mainland China in 1949 and drove Chiang
Kai-shek to relocate his Nationalist government to the island.
Though Washington maintains formal diplomatic ties with Beijing
rather than Taipei, the U.S. is Taiwan's main arms supplier. The
1979 Taiwan Relations Act commits the U.S. to provide defensive
weaponry and treat threats to Taiwan as matters of "grave
The latest proposed U.S. arms sales, announced by the Defense
Security Cooperation Agency last Wednesday, include a roughly $1
billion package of air-to-ground cruise missiles from Boeing,
$436.1 million in mobile rocket launchers from Lockheed Martin and
$367.2 million in aircraft reconnaissance pods from Raytheon's
Collins Aerospace unit.
Write to Chun Han Wong at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 26, 2020 08:36 ET (12:36 GMT)
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