BEIJING: China announced sanctions Sunday on five American defense-related companies in response to US arms sales to Taiwan and USsanctions on Chinese companies and individuals.
The sanctions will freeze any property the companies have in China and prohibit organizations and individuals in China from doing business with them, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted online.
The companies are BAE Systems Land and Armament, Alliant Techsystems Operation, AeroVironment, ViaSat and Data Link Solutions.
The Foreign Ministry said the US moves harmed China’s sovereignty and security interests, undermined peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and violated the rights and interests of Chinese companies and individuals.
“The Chinese government remains unwavering in our resolve to safeguard national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies and citizens,” the ministry statement said.
The US last month approved the sale of about $300 million in communications and other defense-related equipment to Taiwan. At the time, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin warned that China would take countermeasures against companies involved in arms sales to Taiwan.
Taiwan is a major flashpoint in US-China relations that analysts worry could explode into military conflict between the two powers. China regards Taiwan, a self-governing island off its east coast, as a renegade province that must come under Beijing’s control at some point in the future. It views US arms sales to Taiwan as interference in its domestic affairs.
The Chinese military regularly sends fighter planes and ships into and over the waters around Taiwan, in part to deter the island’s government from declaring formal independence. An invasion doesn’t appear imminent, but the constant military activity serves as a reminder that the threat is ever present.
The US switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1971, but it is bound by its own laws to ensure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself. It and its allies sail warships through the Taiwan Strait, a 160-kilometer-wide (100-mile) waterway that separates the island from China.