Beijing: The Chinese government announced on Monday that it had passed sanctions against United States defence contractors Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin due to their arms sales to Taiwan, a move seen as retaliation for the US sanctions against Chinese products and companies associated with Uighur concentration camps in Xinjiang.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Monday announced the move at a daily press briefing, citing a newly passed Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law that took effect in 2021. It was in response to a $100m deal approved by the US for maintenance of Taiwan's missile defence systems by the two companies.
Urging the US and other countries to "sever" military ties with Taiwan, Wenbin said that China would take all measures to safeguard it's security interests.
The US has no formal relations with Taiwan but is its main ally. It has increased weapons sales in recent years, angering China with the sales. US law requires the government to ensure Taiwan can defend itself.
In 2020, similar unspecified were out in place against Raytheon technologies and other defence contractors after the US State Department said it had notified Congress of plans for a $2.37 billion sale of Harpoon attack missiles to Taiwan.
Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and other defence industry giants face controls on sales to China of military and dual-use technologies that have defence and commercial applications. But they also have major civilian businesses and China is a huge market for aviation, among other industries.
The US has also been pressuring China over allegations of genocide and forced labour of the Uighur minority Muslim community in China by imposing sanctions under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) passed on December 23, 2021, which targeted imports of goods sourced from or produced in the Xinjiang region of China in an effort to address allegations of forced labor.
It has also been seen as a way to get China to back off from aggressive military encroachment into Taiwanese territory, which it has been conducting since October last year by flying warplanes through Taiwanese airspace and nearby.