Thursday 11 April 2024

China Sanctions Two Major American Defense Companies over U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

 China on Thursday announced sanctions on two major American defense companies over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, which Beijing claims as part of its territory.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan violated the various agreements between the U.S. and China that maintain a delicate situation whereby the U.S. does not officially recognize the Taiwanese government nor support its independence, but it allows for the U.S. to maintain informal ties to the democratic island nation and bolster its defense against a military takeover by China.

The ministry said in a statement:

The continued U.S. arms sales to China’s Taiwan region seriously violate the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, interfere in China’s internal affairs, and undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

China sanctioned General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems, freezing their assets within China and denying entry to their senior management. “This decision shall come into force as of April 11, 2024,” the statement said.

According to the Associated Press (AP), General Dynamics operates a half-dozen Gulfstream and jet aviation services operations in China. The company also produces the Abrams tank, which is being purchased by Taiwan to resist an invasion by China.

Last year, China banned American defense companies Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Missiles & Defense after one of their planes and missiles shot down the suspected spy balloon that was discovered flying across the continental U.S. over sensitive military installations, the AP reported.

Taiwan is a major flashpoint between the U.S. and China.

While the U.S. switched official recognition of the government of China from Taiwan to Beijing in 1979, it has maintained a robust unofficial diplomatic relationship with the government of Taiwan, which was established after Chinese nationalist forces fled to Taiwan amid a civil war with Chinese communists. China has vowed to “unify” with Taiwan, including by force.

The U.S. has since worked to maintain a status quo where China does not move to seize the island, and Taiwan does not formally declare independence. However, the Chinese government, in recent years, has stepped up its aggression towards Taiwan, conducting larger and more frequent military drills around the island.

The latest sanctions were announced amid a high-profile visit by the Japanese prime minister to Washington, DC.

Asked on Thursday about the visit, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Mao Ning said the U.S. and Japan have “attacked and smeared China on the Taiwan question and maritime issues, grossly interfered in China’s domestic affairs and violated the basic norms in international relations. China deplores and opposes it, and has made serious démarches to relevant parties.”

She said:

I want to stress that there is but one China. This is a historical fact and international consensus. The Taiwan question is purely China’s domestic affair and brooks no external interference. Both the US and Japanese governments have made serious commitments to China on the Taiwan question. In particular, Japan bears serious historical responsibilities for its aggression against Taiwan and colonial rule over the island, and should all the more honor its words and act prudently. We urge the US to translate President Biden’s commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence” into concrete actions.

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