#China to sanction Lockheed Martin over Taiwan arms sales

#China to sanction Lockheed Martin over Taiwan arms sales

July 14, 2020 | 1:01pm

China will impose sanctions on US defense contractor Lockheed Martin over its involvement in arms sales to Taiwan, it announced Tuesday.

“China firmly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan. We will impose sanctions on the main contractor of this arms sale, Lockheed Martin,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a press conference without elaborating further.

Last week, the State Department approved a $620 million deal to sell the Democratic island upgraded parts for its Patriot surface-to-air missiles.

At the time, the department said in a statement, “This proposed sale serves U.S. national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability.”

China opposed this and previous sales because of their staunch rivalry with Taiwan.

The Communist nation views Taiwan as a rogue province and publicly argues it should not be afforded the rights granted to sovereign states. China also maintains that Taiwan must one day be reunited with the mainland as an inalienable part of their territory.

While the US has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, relations have increased in recent months, thanks especially to China facing a wave of scrutiny as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The US Senate unanimously approved a bill in late May calling on the State Department to develop and submit a plan to help Taiwan regain its World Health Organization status.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Iowa) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), also called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to report to Congress any actions taken by the US to boost Taiwan’s global relationships diplomatically.

The bill’s passage came following a considerable lobbying campaign waged by Taiwan.

Pompeo has also touted Taiwan’s response to the pandemic, calling the country a reliable partner back in May.

“We have a shared vision for the region — one that includes rule of law, transparency, prosperity, and security for all,” Pompeo said in a statement at the time.

“The recent Covid-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for the international community to see why Taiwan’s pandemic-response model is worthy of emulation.”

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