China sanctions five US defense firms over Taiwan arms sales
China has declared sanctions against five Western defense firms in response to the latest series of US arms sales to Taiwan.
This development coincides with Taiwan’s upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for January 13.
The sale of weapons to Taiwan has consistently been a source of tension between Beijing and Washington. China asserts territorial claims over Taiwan, which is governed democratically and rejects China’s assertions.
Last month, the US State Department approved a $300 million sale of equipment aimed at supporting Taiwan’s tactical information systems.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, in a statement on Sunday, justified the sanctions as a response to what it deemed “gravely wrong actions” by the US.
It emphasized that the recent arms sales severely compromise China’s sovereignty and security interests while undermining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
The sanctioned companies include BAE Systems Land and Armament, Alliant Techsystems Operation, AeroVironment, ViaSat, and Data Link Solutions.
China has decided to freeze the assets of these firms and prohibit individuals and organizations within China from engaging with them, according to the Foreign Ministry’s announcement.
The BBC has contacted the US embassy in Beijing for comment.
Beijing has ramped up its pressure on Taiwan ahead of the elections that could redefine the island’s relationship with China.
In his annual New Year’s Eve address, Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated his claim that Taiwan would “surely be reunified” with China.
China sees the self-ruled island of 23 million as a breakaway province that will eventually be under Beijing’s control.
Taiwan considers itself distinct from the Chinese mainland, with its own constitution and democratically elected leaders.