Beijing sanctions two US defence companies over Taiwan arms sales
BEIJING: Beijing sanctioned on Friday two US defence companies, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, over their roles in supplying arms to Taiwan.
The United States Congress, under the Taiwan Relations Act, requires the supply of weapons to the self-governing democracy for its defence.
President Joe Biden’s administration has recently announced a slew of arms sales to the island.
“Despite China’s firm opposition, the US government is determined to provide weapons to Taiwan… seriously harming China’s sovereignty and security interests, and going further and further on the wrong and dangerous road of arming Taiwan,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a regular press briefing.
She said that Lockheed Martin was the prime contractor in US arms sales to Taiwan that took place on August 24, and that Northrop Grumman had taken part in sales “many times”.
“According to the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law of the PRC, China has decided to impose sanctions on the above two US military companies,” she said, without providing details of the curbs.
Mao said China urged the United States to stop selling weapons to Taiwan.
The US government believes China’s Defence Minister Li Shangfu is the subject of an investigation by Beijing and has been relieved of his duties, the Financial Times reported late on Thursday citing American officials.
The report came shortly before high-ranking diplomat Rahm Emanuel, the US ambassador to Japan, stated on social media that Li “hasn’t been seen or heard from in 3 weeks,” and that the minister might have been placed under house arrest.
It is the latest sign of potential turmoil in Beijing after Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang inexplicably disappeared and was ousted from his post in July.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2023