- The Washington Times - Monday, October 26, 2020

China is gearing up to slap sanctions on several U.S. weapons manufacturers for their role in a new weapons sale to Taiwan.

The companies that will be sanctioned include Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raythron, among others, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said Monday.

“To safeguard our national interests, China decided to take necessary measures and levy sanctions on U.S. companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defence and Raytheon, and those individuals and companies who behaved badly in the process of the arms sales,” spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters, as quoted by Reuters.

The Trump administration last week formally notified Congress of an intended $1.8 billion weapons sale to Taiwan.

Although the U.S. does not share formal, diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the sale is the latest step in a sharp escalation of tensions between the U.S. and China, which has included the shuttering of diplomatic consulates, trade tariffs, the expulsion of journalists and U.S. sanctions over Chinese policies in Hong Kong and Xinjiang province.

The notice, announced Wednesday, detailed the weapons package approved by the State Department and includes 135 Boeing-made air-to-ground missiles, also known as Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) missiles, and related maintenance products valued at more than $1 billion; 11 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) M142 Launchers worth roughly $436 million; and six MS-110 Recce Pods valued at $367.2 million.

The decision to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan marks a particularly provocative advance in the eyes of China, which views Taiwan as its own territory.

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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