China sanctions two US arms giants for authorizing a sale to Taiwan

China announced Friday that it had placed American defense industry giants Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman under sanctions for their role in supplying weapons to Taiwan, an island territory claimed by Beijing. This follows the authorization by the United States, on August 24, to authorize selling detection equipment for Taipei’s fighter jets.

“Despite China’s firm opposition, the US government is determined to provide weapons to Taiwan, which seriously undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests,” a diplomatic spokesperson said. Chinese, Mao Ning, without specifying what the measures taken by Beijing against the two American arms giants consist of.

The announcement of these sanctions comes as 68 planes and 10 ships of the Chinese army were detected between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning by Taiwanese authorities near their coasts.

“A credible defense capability”

The equipment in question, infrared detection systems for F-16, intended to improve the ability of aircraft to detect aerial threats, is produced by the American group Lockheed Martin, already sanctioned by China in the past.

The US State Department had notified Congress of the agreement on the sale, for half a billion dollars, of these detection systems so that Taiwan “maintains a credible defense capability”.

Beijing claims the island of 23 million inhabitants ruled since 1949 by a rival regime close to the United States and has intensified its political and economic pressure on it in recent years.

If Washington has recognized China to the detriment of Taipei since 1979, the American Congress has at the same time required the supply of arms to the autonomous democratic island, which lives under threat of Chinese invasionwith the stated aim of dissuading Beijing from any expansionist desire.

Taiwan: a sensitive subject

In recent months, Beijing and Washington have renewed dialogue with a succession of visits by senior American officials to Beijing, including the head of diplomacy Antony Blinken in June.

But despite this rapprochement, discussions often become tense when discussing Taiwan, and the Chinese authorities are increasing their warnings against any decision by the United States which could be perceived as support for formal independence for the island.

Thus, in a little over a year, Beijing has carried out major military exercises three times in response to visits by Taiwanese leaders to the United States or Americans to Taiwan.

Elon Musk enters the debate

Taipei defends its sovereignty even on social networks. Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu responded Wednesday to the recent statements by American billionaire Elon Muskwho called the self-governing island an “integral part of China.”

In an incendiary publication on the social network X, formerly Twitter, he responded to Elon Musk that Taiwan is not part of China, and is “not for sale”. Joseph Wu also says he hopes that the tycoon “will ask the Chinese Communist Party to allow its people to have access to X”, which he owns.

“If (his) comments are influenced by his commercial interests, such comments do not deserve to be taken seriously and the person making them does not deserve respect,” Jeff Liu, the spokesperson, also told the press. of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We don’t know if Mr. Musk’s free will is for sale, but Taiwan is not for sale, that’s for sure.”

The billionaire had already angered Taipei in May for declaring that China would inevitably integrate the island. “China’s official policy is that Taiwan must be integrated (…) There is no need to read between the lines,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

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