| 20 July 2024, Saturday |

China sanctions Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin for arms sales to Taiwan

China will impose sanctions against U.S. aerospace and defence firms Northrop Grumman (NOC.N) and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) for providing weapons to Taiwan, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Friday.

The sanctions are being enacted under China’s Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular press briefing.

“We urge the U.S. side to effectively abide by the one-China principle… cease U.S.-Taiwan military liaison and stop arming Taiwan, or else it will be subject to a resolute and forceful retaliation by the Chinese side,” she said.

Mao named Lockheed Martin Corp’s branch in Missouri as the prime contractor that was directly involved in an arms sale to Taiwan on Aug. 24 and said Northrop Grumman has repeatedly participated in the sale of weapons to Taiwan.

China has applied sanctions on U.S. companies over selling weapons to Taiwan on numerous occasions before, and it is not immediately clear how they work or what they are intended to achieve given that neither company sells to China.

U.S. President Joe Biden last month approved the transfer of up to $80 million in funds to Taiwan under the Foreign Military Financing programme, according to a notification sent to Congress.

The sanctions were imposed during a week of busy military activity around the democratically-governed island, in which a Chinese naval formation led by the aircraft carrier Shandong passed within 60 nautical miles (111 km) of Taiwan’s southeast.

This week, Taiwan has reported scores of Chinese fighters, bombers, and other aircraft coming into its air defense zone.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province that must embrace Chinese sovereignty and has never abandoned the use of force to that end.

China’s broad law to oppose foreign sanctions went into effect in 2021, ostensibly to legalize tit-for-tat retribution against punitive acts taken by other nations.

It has extraterritorial application and is part of a set of legislation passed by Beijing in recent years that observers think may allow China to monitor countries’ behavior toward it outside its borders.

  • Reuters