Above Photo: An F-35 fighter jet. Lefteris Pitarakis/ AP Photo.
China has decided to impose sanctions against the US-based Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin defense technology companies over an alleged arms supply to Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said on Friday.
“Lockheed Martin Corporation, St. Louis, MO directly participated in the US arms sale to Taiwan announced on August 24 as the principal contractor. Northrop Grumman participated in several US arms sales to Taiwan. In accordance with the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law of the People’s Republic of China, China decides to impose sanctions on these two above-mentioned US defense corporations,” the spokeswoman told a briefing, adding that Beijing calls on the United States to respect China’s sovereignty and stop arms sales to Taiwan so as not to provoke “China’s resolute response.”
Chinese sanctions against businesses imply a ban on all investments as well as export and import activities in the country. The companies’ leadership received an entry ban. Work and stay permits of all the companies’ employees are being annulled. Besides, the enterprises have to pay fines, which are twice as large as the total sum of each company’s deals with Taipei
Taiwan has been governed independently from mainland China since 1949. Beijing regards the island as its province, while Taiwan maintains that it is an autonomous entity but stops short of declaring independence. Beijing opposes any official foreign contacts with Taipei and regards Chinese sovereignty over the island as indisputable.
The latest escalation around Taiwan took place in April after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the United States. Beijing responded by launching massive three-day military drills near the island in what it called a warning to Taiwanese separatists and foreign powers. In August, the Taiwanese armed forces reported multiple sightings of Chinese naval and air patrols in the island’s vicinity.