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China sanctions two US companies for supporting weapons sales to Taiwan amid tensions

US companies General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems were sanctioned by China over their alleged support for arms sales to Taiwan. The US and China have traded sanctions over various issues in the past.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Beijing Published on: April 11, 2024 16:32 IST
china, sanctions, us companies, taiwan
Image Source : REUTERS (FILE) Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart spoke recently on their concerns over Taiwan.

Beijing: China on Thursday announced sanctions against two US companies over alleged support for arms sales to Taiwan, the self-governing island country that Beijing claims as part of its own territory and has vowed to reclaim it by force if required. Taiwan remains a key friction point in the strained relations between the United States and China.

The announcement freezes the assets of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems held within China. The measure also bars the companies’ management from entering the country. It is not clear what assets the companies have within China, which remains dependent on foreign aerospace technology while attempting to boost domestic manufacturing.

This comes over a month after China opposed sanctions by the US, Britain and the European Union on Chinese entities for Russia-related reasons. The Biden administration in February announced new trade curbs on 93 entities from various countries, including China, for supporting Russia's war effort in Ukraine.

"China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises," the commerce ministry earlier said in three statements on its website. The EU targeted three Chinese firms and one Hong Kong-based company, while Britain announced curbs on three Chinese electronic companies.

Xi Jinping's remarks on Taiwan

Earlier this month, Xi Jinping told his US counterpart, Joe Biden, over a phone call that the Taiwan issue is the "first red line" that must not be crossed by Washington and warned that Beijing will "not sit on its hands" if "Taiwan independence" forces step up their "separatist activities" with the help of external elements. He urged the US to act in accordance “with President Biden’s commitment of not supporting ‘Taiwan independence.

Biden stressed the need to maintain “peace and stability” across the Taiwan Strait and he also raised his concerns over China’s support for Russia’s defence industry, the White House said.  Xi urged the US side to translate President Biden’s commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence” into concrete actions.

Xi also met former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou and told the latter that outside inference could not stop the "family reunion" between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and that there are no issues that cannot be discussed. Ma, president from 2008 to 2016, last year became the first former Taiwanese leader to visit China, and is now on his second trip to the country, at a time of simmering military tension across the strait.

On the other hand, Ma told Xi that tensions have caused unease for many Taiwanese. "If there is a war between the two sides, it will be unbearable for the Chinese people. Chinese on both sides of the strait absolutely have enough wisdom to handle all disputes peacefully and avoid heading into conflict," he said, using a term that refers to people who are ethnically Chinese rather than their nationality.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring democratically-governed Taiwan under its control and has ramped up military and political pressure to assert its sovereignty claims. Current Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and her government reject China's territorial claims, saying only the island's people can decide their future.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | China's Xi Jinping meets former Taiwan President, says no one can stop 'family reunion'


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