China to impose sanctions on Boeing and Lockheed Martin over arms sales to Taiwan

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Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian called on the United States to stop selling arms to the autonomous island and cut military ties with the government of Taipei.

The sanctions are just the latest escalation in growing tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan. Even though the island has never been controlled by the ruling Communist Party in China, Beijing insists it is an integral part of its territory and has threatened to use force if necessary to assert control.

“We will continue to take the necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty and security interests,” Zhao said. He reiterated that US arms sales to Taiwan “seriously violated” the one-China principle and harmed China’s security interests.

The exact details of the sanctions have yet to be announced, but Zhao said they would apply to “affected US individuals and entities who have played a negative role in arms sales.”

Zhao specifically mentioned that the sanctions would hit large US companies such as Lockheed Martin (LMT), Boeing (BA) defense contractor company, and Raytheon (RTN).

Boeing said the issue must be resolved by governments.

“The US government decides what defense systems to supply to Taiwan and then makes arrangements with the Department of Defense for the supply of that equipment,” a Boeing spokesperson told CNN Business. “Foreign military sales to any country or entity are a direct contractual obligation between the purchaser and the US government / Department of Defense. ”

Lockheed Martin also said foreign military sales were “government-to-government transactions” and stressed that it was working closely with US leaders.

“Lockheed Martin adheres to the policy of the United States government regarding the conduct of business with foreign governments,” a spokesperson said. “We do business with more than 70 countries around the world and all of our international sales are strictly regulated by the US government. ”

Raytheon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Over the past year, the Trump administration has taken steps to strengthen ties with Taipei, including increasing arms sales and facilitating high-level meetings between U.S. and Taiwanese officials.

Last week, the United States officially notified Congress of plans to sell three advanced weapon systems to Taiwan, for an estimated total of $ 1.8 billion.

– CNN Beijing office and Chris Liakos contributed to this report.

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