By Sources

BORNEO, Asean-China officially put Lockheed Martin and a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies on an “unreliable entities list” after they sold weapons and military technology to Taiwan. The move is the latest in a series of microaggressions that have recently increased tensions between China and the US.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry announced the sanctions on Feb 16. The designation means that the two American companies are banned from “engaging in import and export activities related to China.” Neither company now sells military products to China, although Raytheon does sell airplane parts to commercial airlines based in the country.

Lockheed Martin said in a statement that it always adheres to US government policy when conducting business with foreign governments, adding that “foreign Military Sales are government-to-government transactions and we work closely with the US government on any military sales to international customers.”

The Chinese government also fined the companies more than double the amount they stand to make from their contracts with Taiwan. It is unclear, however, how China would enforce such a fine.

The US has long sold arms to Taiwan. It’s in fact bound by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to provide the island nation with the means to defend itself. This support for Taiwan has also long irked China, which still claims Taiwan as its own.

China announced its intention to sanction US companies back in 2019 as a retaliation for the US ban on Huawei, a Chinese telecom company that the US feared could further enable the Chinese to spy on the US.