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China will sanction Lockheed Martin for arms sales to Taiwan

“China is against US arms sales to Taiwan,” said State Department spokesman Zhao Lijian at a press conference. Taiwan is a self-governing island, but China has long vowed to unite it with the mainland.

The United States is one of Taiwan’s most important arms suppliers. The US State Department approved a request by Taiwan last week to upgrade its Patriot surface-to-air missile at an estimated cost of $ 620 million, according to Taiwan’s state-run Central News Agency.

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In response, China has “sanctioned the prime contractor for this arms sale, Lockheed Martin,” Zhao said without going into detail. The United States should “stop selling arms to Taiwan and cut military ties to Taiwan so that bilateral relations between China and the United States are not further harmed,” he added.

Relations between the two largest economies in the world are already approaching new lows.

After tightening sanctions against Huawei Washington has threatened to ban more of the largest Chinese technology companies in recent weeks. Beijing has sanctioned US officials and lawmakers and has urged the United States to stop interfering in China’s international affairs. In the meantime, there is growing criticism in the US and other western countries of Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong and China’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The sale of arms to Taiwan “shows that the US is pushing ahead with its plans to contain mainland China, regardless of the problems they have with dealing with the coronavirus at home, and this is leading to more chaos and complexity in the region instead of peace and stability, “China’s The Global Times reported last week on a state-run tabloid.
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The arms sale is “symbolic and is giving the Taiwanese secessionists only the wrong courage instead of strengthening their military capabilities,” said Yang Chengjun, a Chinese expert in missile technology and nuclear strategy, the newspaper.

Lockheed Martin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear how Chinese sanctions would affect the company’s business. Lockheed Martin said in a recent announcement that missiles and firearms will make up less than 20% of the company Estimated sales for 2020. The company generates more than twice as much sales from aviation, including sales of the company’s F-35 fighter aircraft.

Beijing could prevent Chinese companies from providing Lockheed Martin with key technology, which is similar to the restrictions Washington has imposed on Huawei. Last year, Sky News reported that a Chinese company was manufacturing circuit boards for F-35 jets. Lockheed Martin informed the British broadcaster at the time that he knew of no other Chinese F-35 suppliers.

– CNN’s Isaac Yee contributed to this report.

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