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China to sanction US firms over military sales to Taiwan

China is planning to impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin and Raytheon in response to the US corporations' sales of defence equipment to Taiwan, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said on 21 February.

The move is the latest in a series of similar warnings by Beijing, which views military sales to Taiwan as a threat to its sovereignty and security interests.

Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a press conference that sanctions against Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are aligned with China's Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, which was introduced in June 2021.

“To safeguard China's sovereignty and security interests, the Chinese government has decided to take countermeasures in accordance with relevant stipulations… on the infringing acts of Raytheon Technologies Corporation and Lockheed Martin Corporation,” said Wang in comments published by the ministry.

He added that both US companies are “military industrial enterprises that have long participated in the US' arms sales to China's Taiwan region”.

The spokesperson said China urges the US government to “abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, and to stop arms sales to and military ties with Taiwan”.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not identify a specific US military sale that the sanctions are linked to. However, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon were named by the US government on 7 February as prime contractors in a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme to enhance Taiwan's Patriot air-defence system.

This proposed USD100 million contract runs for five years and comprises “engineering services support designed to sustain, maintain, and improve” Taiwan's Patriot systems.

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