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China sanctions US defense giant over Taiwan supplies

Beijing will freeze assets belonging to Lockheed Martin after the US approved another arms sale

Beijing has introduced sanctions on subsidiaries and senior executives of US arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin over the sale of arms to Taiwan, which it says “violates the One-China principle.”

The measures will freeze movable and immovable properties and assets in China belonging to the corporation and its top executives, as well as barring them from entering the country, according to a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday.

The sanctions will target Lockheed Martin CEO James Teclit, Chief Operating Officer Frank St. John, Chief Financial Officer Jesse Malefe, and others, as well as subsidiaries including Lockheed Martin Missile Systems Integration Laboratory, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technologies Laboratory, and Lockheed Martin Ventures.

Earlier this week, the US State Department approved a new weapons sale to Taiwan involving hundreds of armed drones and missiles worth $360 million. Under the deal, the self-governed island will receive Altius-600M systems, which are unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with warheads, and related equipment. Washington will also provide 720 Switchblade kamikaze drones, which are known as “extended-range loitering munitions,” along with accompanying fire control systems.

Last month, the Chinese authorities imposed sanctions on 12 American defense contractors, including subsidiaries of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, as well as ten executives. The restrictions, which included asset freezes and travel bans, came in response to Washington’s efforts to arm Taiwan, and the imposition of “illegal” sanctions on Chinese firms. The US Treasury had previously slapped restrictive measures on more than a dozen Chinese entities for allegedly supplying military-related goods to Russia.

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FILE PHOTO: Ambassador Geng Shuang.
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China’s government has slammed the move as unlawful, saying it was part of a broader US policy aimed at undermining the Asian state’s economic development. Beijing has highlighted that, unlike Washington, it is not involved in the Ukraine conflict.

Beijing has long accused Washington of fomenting tensions over Taiwan, and has denounced US arms sales to the region, which it considers part of China’s sovereign territory. The Chinese authorities have also protested against visits by top US officials to the island, arguing that such practices violate the ‘One-China’ principle.

Meanwhile, the White House claims that supplying the island with weapons is necessary to deter China from seizing it by force. China’s stated policy pursues peaceful reunification with Taiwan, but the government has warned that it would have to resort to force if Taiwan attempted to declare independence.

June 21, 2024 at 06:13PM

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