Beijing Sanctions US Defense Companies Amid Fallout From Chinese Spy Balloon

Andrew Thornebrooke
By Andrew Thornebrooke
February 16, 2023China News
Beijing Sanctions US Defense Companies Amid Fallout From Chinese Spy Balloon
The F-22 Raptor takes part in a NATO Air Shieling exercise at the 32nd Air Tactical Base in Lask, Poland, on Oct. 12, 2022. (Omar Marques/Getty Images)

Communist China is sanctioning two American defense companies for arms sales to Taiwan amid the growing fallout over the shootdown of a Chinese spy balloon in U.S. airspace.

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, America’s two largest defense manufacturers, will be added to the regime’s sanctions list, according to a Feb. 16 announcement by China’s Ministry of Commerce.

The sanctions come just a day after Beijing threatened “countermeasures” against the United States for its shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon that illegally incurred into U.S. airspace.

The companies will be banned from importing, exporting, and investing in China, and will be subject to Chinese fines equal to twice the amount of their arms sales to Taiwan going back to 2020.

It is not currently clear if Beijing has any mechanisms in place to enforce the fines, and the sanctions are unlikely to have any tangible effect as U.S. defense companies are prohibited from making military sales to China.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) previously sanctioned both companies for arms sales to Taiwan, though it is unclear whether the move affected other companies.

Beijing falsely claims that Taiwan is a breakaway province of China. However, Taiwan has never been controlled by the CCP, and its own democratic government is a continuation of that which the CCP sought to overthrow during the Chinese Civil War.

The United States formally recognizes but does not endorse the CCP’s position, and maintains legal obligations to provide Taiwan with weapons for its self-defense.

The effort to sanction the companies also follows U.S. sanctions against six companies linked to China’s military, which are believed to be involved in China’s spy balloon program. The CCP did not comment on the issue in its own sanctions, however, simply citing national security as the purpose of the sanctions.

In a statement issued on Feb. 10, the Commerce Department identified five companies and a research institute involved in efforts to support “aerospace programs, including airships and balloons and related materials and components” for the CCP’s military wing.

“The Commerce Department will not hesitate to continue to use the Entity List and our other regulatory and enforcement tools to protect U.S. national security and sovereignty,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the time.

The Epoch Times has requested comment from Lockheed and Raytheon.

From The Epoch Times

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