China sanctions US arms manufacturers over Taiwan sales

China has taken a significant step by imposing sanctions on five U.S. arms manufacturers, responding to recent American approval of a substantial military aid package for Taiwan.

Taiwan military to exemplarize the sanctions against US arms manufacturers over Taiwan sales
Photo courtesy: 總統府, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

China has imposed sanctions on five U.S. arms manufacturers following the United States’ approval of a $300 million military aid package for Taiwan, a self-governing island that is holding elections in a week.

The move by China comes as part of its ongoing claim over Taiwan, considering it as part of its territory. The U.S., by law, is obligated to support Taiwan’s defense capabilities, further fueling tensions between the two nations.

The sanction announcement precedes Taiwan’s upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for January 13. China has framed these elections as a decisive choice between war and peace concerning the Taiwan issue.

Last month, the U.S. State Department sanctioned a $300 million arms package aimed at enhancing Taipei’s joint battle command and control system. In response, China vowed unspecified retaliatory actions against the involved companies.

China’s Foreign Ministry detailed the sanctions against BAE Systems Land and Armament, Alliant Techsystems Operation, AeroVironment, ViaSat, and Data Link Solutions. These measures include freezing the companies’ properties in China, encompassing both movable and immovable assets, and prohibiting any transactions or collaborations between Chinese entities and these manufacturers.

In a statement, the ministry emphasized that the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan severely jeopardize China’s sovereignty and national security interests.

Tensions have escalated since Tsai Ing-wen’s initial election as Taiwan’s president in 2016, with Beijing accusing her of advocating for Taiwan’s independence. However, Tsai maintains that the future of Taiwan should be determined by its people.

The upcoming elections see William Lai, Tsai’s vice president, vying for the presidency against Hou Yu-ih from the more China-friendly KMT party.

China’s mounting pressure on Taiwan has been observable through increased military activities around the island before the elections. Taiwan has cautioned Beijing against interfering with the electoral process.

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