China Sanctions Lockheed Martin, Boeing over Arms Sales to Taiwan

US-made M60A3 tanks fire artillery during the annual Han Kuang military drills in Taichung on July 16, 2020. - The five-day "Han Kuang" (Han Glory) military drills starting on July 14 aimed to test how the armed forces would repel an invasion from China, which has vowed to bring Taiwan …
SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images

The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that China will impose unspecified sanctions against Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defense, Raytheon, and other “individuals and companies who behaved badly in the process of arms sales” to Taiwan.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press conference that the sanctions were in response to the $1.81 billion arms sale to Taiwan the Trump administration approved last week. 

The deal includes land-attack missiles that can “counter or deter aggressions by demonstrated precision against surface targets,” as the U.S. State Department put it. The State Department envisioned a total of five arms sales to Taiwan worth about $5 billion in total.

China threatened retaliation for the $1.8 billion sale last week, warning the United States to “stop arms sales to and military ties with the Taiwan region, cancel its arms sales plans to avoid further harming China-U.S. relations and cross-strait peace and stability.”

Reuters noted on Monday that China has “imposed sanctions on Lockheed Martin and other U.S. companies in the past for selling weapons to Taiwan, though it is unclear what form the penalties have taken.”

Boeing representatives said the company remains “committed” to its “partnership with China’s aviation community” despite the announced sanctions, while Lockheed Martin said it has only a “limited” presence in China. 

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) noted on Monday that China is “one of the biggest markets” for Boeing jetliners and China “hosts many Boeing suppliers, as well as facilities working on passenger and cargo jets.”

The WSJ also recalled that the same Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman announced sanctions against Lockheed Martin in July for selling Taiwan a $620 million upgrade package for its Patriot surface-to-air missiles, but it remains unclear what penalties were actually assessed against Lockheed Martin after that announcement.

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