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China to Slap Sanctions on US Firms Selling Arms to Taiwan

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (Photo: VOA)
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (Photo: VOA)

“To safeguard our national interests, China will impose sanctions on the US enterprises involved in the above-mentioned arms sales to Taiwan.”

China has threatened to impose sanctions on American companies that sell weapons to Taiwan, saying that such sales violate international laws.

Last Monday, Washington announced it had approved arms sales to Taipei worth $2.2 billion, including Raytheon-manufactured 250 Stinger missiles and 108 General Dynamics Corp M1A2T Abrams tanks. , The Guardian reported.

“To safeguard our national interests, China will impose sanctions on the U.S. enterprises involved in the above-mentioned arms sales to Taiwan,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters.

U.S. arms sales to Taiwan come amid ongoing trade tension between the U.S. and Beijing. Despite the civil communication between Washington and Beijing at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, last June, the world’s two biggest economies have yet to resolve their ongoing trade dispute which has resulted in a mutual exchange of tariffs on the other nation’s goods.

China still considers Taiwan a renegade province and tries to pressure countries to cut diplomatic ties with Taipei, and has hinted at its willingness to exercise the use of force to control the island.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned Washington not to “play with fire” over Taiwan during his visit to Budapest, Hungary, as Reuters quoted.

It is unclear how the Chinese sanctions would impact the U.S.’ companies, as U.S. defense firms have been blocked from dealing with China since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

On July 11, Taiwanese President Tsai-Ing Wen arrived in the U.S., stating that Taiwanese democracy must be defended.

“Our democracy has not come easily and is now facing threats and infiltration from overseas forces,” Tsai said at a press conference before disembarking for the U.S.

“These challenges are also common challenges faced by democracies all over the world. We will work with countries with similar ideas to ensure the stability of the democratic system,” the female leader added.

Taiwan separated from China after the civil war in 1949. Despite having no diplomatic ties with Taiwan, Washington provides military and other types of support for Taipei, which angers Beijing.

US-China Relationship Heated Over Taiwan Issue

Last month, the U.S. and China accused each other of ruining stability in the Asia Pacific region after Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe warned Washington not to intervene in disputes over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Last week, China-based media Global Times accused the U.S. of spreading lies about a Chinese ballistic missile test in the Sea – a test the U.S. says was done in an effort to intimidate parties in the region.

“Of course the Pentagon was aware of the Chinese missile launch from the man-made structures in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn stated as Reuters reported.

China, however, said it had conducted routine drills which used live ammunition but said claims they had fired missies was not true.

In response to the U.S. accusations, China’s Defense Ministry told Reuters in a statement, “The relevant reports do not accord with the facts.”

“Recently, the People’s Liberation Army Southern Theater Command arranged live ammunition firing drills in waters near Hainan island in accordance with annual exercise arrangements,” the ministry added. “These were not aimed at any country or any specific target,” it said,

The South China Sea is home to an abundance of oil reserves and fish, making it attractive to China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

The sea also plays a vital role in connecting the Middle East, Europe, Africa and South Asia with East Asia, carrying one-third of global shipping.

US Leery of China

The ongoing feuding with China suggests Washington is increasingly concerned about China’s growing global influence. Washington is worried about China’s military power and influence in crisis-hit Venezuela.

In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Adm. Craig Faller, the four-star military officer who heads U.S. Southern Command, accused China of using “hefty loans” to assert economic control of Venezuela.

“I think the biggest threat to democracy and the way of life around the world is the trend that we see in China,” Faller added.

China, along with Russia, is a strong supporter of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro while the U.S. and other Western countries called Maduro’ s re-election illegitimate.

According to U.S. Southern Command data, China has sold more than $615 million in weapons to Venezuela over the last 10 years.

Washington also recently condemned China, Turkey and India for buying Russia’s S-400 missile defense system – a system similar to what the West can offer but with a more affordable price.

However, while the U.S. lambasts other countries for selling weapons or buying non-U.S. weapons, the U.S. has no qualms furnishing weapons to any country it wants.

The U.S. has continued to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia despite U.S. Congress banning the sale of weapons to the country after the murder of Washington Post Jamal Khashoggi and in light of the country’s involvement in the Yemen War. The U.S. even approved the transfer of nuclear technology to the country, which is considered one of the gravest violators of human rights.

Yasmeen Rasidi

Yasmeen is a writer and political science graduate of the National University, Jakarta. She covers a variety of topics for Citizen Truth including the Asia and Pacific region, international conflicts and press freedom issues. Yasmeen had worked for Xinhua Indonesia and GeoStrategist previously. She writes from Jakarta, Indonesia.

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