“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.
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.
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.
– CNN’s Isaac Yee contributed to this report.