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China imposes sanctions on two US defence companies

Beijing said on Friday it was imposing sanctions against Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman for supplying weapons to Taiwan.

The US administration has been selling arms to the island under the Taiwan Relations Act, but in August the White House approved military aid to Taiwan for the first time as part of the military assistance programme to foreign governments.

At a regular press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said the US is seriously harming the country’s sovereignty and security interests.

“Despite China’s firm opposition, the US government is determined to provide weapons to Taiwan… seriously harming China’s sovereignty and security interests, and going further and further on the wrong and dangerous road of arming Taiwan.”

Mao announced that under the PRC’s Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, China has imposed sanctions on Lockheed Martin, a prime contractor in US arms sales to Taiwan, and Northrop Grumman, a sales participant. She also urged the United States to stop supplying Taiwan with weapons.

Otherwise, it will inevitably face a resolute and strong response from China.

An $80 million arms package was the first aid to Taiwan under the foreign military financing programme. In July, the United States presented a $345 million military aid package. This helped to quickly reinforce the island in the event of a Chinese invasion.

The announcement of sanctions on Friday was made against the backdrop of increased tensions in the region.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said 68 Chinese aircraft and 10 naval vessels were spotted near the island between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning. China claims the self-governing island of Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to seize it, by force if necessary.

The number of military aircraft flying around the island has increased dramatically since the last August’s visit by Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the US House of Representatives.

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