Boeing and Lockheed face China sanctions in Taiwan arms deal

Daniel Fowler
October 26, 2020

China on Monday said it will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin, a Boeing division and other USA firms involved in arm sales to Taiwan, the self-governed island that Beijing views as its territory.

The deal covers three weapons systems, including SLAM-ER air-launched cruise missiles from the Boeing unit along with related equipment, and Lockheed's High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, a land-based mobile rocket launcher.

Last week, China strongly objected to the arms sales and warned of a "necessary response".

US entities and individuals with egregious records in arms sales will also be sanctioned, Zhao said without specifying how many in total. It is not yet clear what impact this will have on these firms as there is not much defence cooperation between the USA and China.

Zhao specifically mentioned that the sanctions would affect major USA companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing's defense contractor business, and Raytheon. "We will continue taking necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty and security interests". China claims that Taiwan, which separated from the mainland in 1949, is part of it and threatens to invade the island.

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"The situation across the Taiwan Straits has been seriously deteriorating". "Due to provocation from the Tsai (Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen) authorities, the risk of war is rising sharply, and Tsai authorities are standing at the precipice", the editorial said.

Beijing has always called Taiwan "an inseparable part of its territory" and asked other countries to adhere to the "One China" policy.

China has sanctioned U.S. companies in the past, including Lockheed Martin, for selling weapons to Taiwan, though it is unclear what form they have taken.

While Washington does not officially recognise Taiwan as an independent state entity, sticking rather to the "One China" policy, it has actually kept informal relations with the island, including arms supplies, after breaking off diplomatic relations with it in 1979.

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