China to slap sanctions on Lockheed Martin over Taiwan arms sale
China says it will slap sanctions on major US military contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. in response to a deal to sell weapons to the self-ruled Chinese territory of Taiwan.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the announcement during a daily news briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, urging the United States to cut military ties with Taiwan in order to avoid further harm to bilateral relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
“China firmly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan,” Zhao said.
“In order to safeguard the country’s interests, China has decided to take necessary steps, and put sanctions on the main contractor for this sale, Lockheed Martin,” he added, without giving further details.
China’s announcement came after the United States approved a request from Taiwan to buy an estimated 620-million-dollar upgrade package for its Patriot missiles.
The US State Department said on Friday that Lockheed Martin would be the main contractor and said the sale would not only serve US interests but strengthen Taiwan’s military against “regional threats” — a thinly-veiled reference to China.
China had previously threatened to slap sanctions on US firms involved in arms sales to Taiwan, in retaliation against Washington’s attempts to undermine Chinese national security.
China has sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan, and under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty, including the US.
Washington, however, has long courted Taipei in an attempt to counter Beijing. The US, which has no formal diplomatic relations with Taipei by law, is the island’s largest weapons supplier and an avid backer of Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen, causing increasing tensions with Beijing over trade and a host of other issues.