China sanctions Lockheed Martin, Raytheon over arms sales to Taiwan
China on Thursday imposed trade and investment sanctions on Lockheed Martin and a unit of Raytheon for supplying weapons to Taiwan, stepping up efforts to isolate the democratically ruled island that the mainland claims as part of its territory.
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies’ Raytheon Missiles and Defense are barred from importing goods into China or making new investments in the country, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced. It said they were added to the “unreliable entity” list of companies whose activities are restricted because they might endanger national sovereignty, security or development interests.
It wasn’t clear what impact the penalties might have. The U.S. bars most sales of weapons-related technology to China, but some military contractors also have civilian businesses in aerospace and other markets.
Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war. The island of 22 million people never has been part of the People’s Republic of China, but the Communist Party says the island is obliged to unite with the mainland, by force if necessary.
President Xi Jinping’s government has stepped up efforts to intimidate Taiwan by flying fighter jets and bombers near the island and firing missiles into the sea.
The U.S. has no official relations with Taiwan but maintains extensive commercial and informal contacts. Washington is obligated by federal law to make sure the island’s government has the means to defend itself.
Taiwan vows to shoot down any suspected military object from mainland China coming close to its shores, though it says it has yet to detect any.
The United States is Taiwan’s main supplier of military equipment.
Raytheon Missiles and Defense was awarded a $412-million contract in September to upgrade Taiwanese military radar as part of a $1.1-billion package of U.S. arms sales to the island. Boeing Defense received a $355-million contract to supply Harpoon missiles.
Beijing responded to that sale by announcing sanctions against the CEOs of Raytheon and of Boeing Defense but gave no details of what they were.
Lockheed Martin has supplied Taiwan’s military with radar, helicopters and air traffic control equipment. It plays a role in the island’s development of its own fighter jets and navy frigates.
During a visit by a U.S. senator, Taiwan’s leader says China and Russia are ‘disrupting and threatening the world order’ with Beijing’s nearby military exercises and Moscow’s Ukraine invasion.
In China, Lockheed Martin has sold air traffic control equipment for civilian airports and helicopters for commercial use.
Beijing announced plans for the “unreliable entity” list in 2019 in response to U.S. restrictions imposed on Huawei Technologies, a Chinese maker of telecom equipment.
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