China announced sanctions on Friday against the CEOs of American defence contractors Raytheon and Boeing Defense over a major U.S. arms sale to rival Taiwan.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning did not specify what the sanctions would be against Gregory Hayes, chairman and CEO of Raytheon Technologies Corp., and Ted Colbert, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security.
It wasn’t immediately clear what impact they would have on the executives or their companies, but such sanctions are often mainly symbolic in nature.
The U.S. announced a $1.09 billion arms sale to Taiwan last week, including $355 million for Boeing’s Harpoon missiles and $85 million for Raytheon’s Sidewinder missiles.
“We once again urge the U.S. government and relevant parties to … stop arms sales to Taiwan and military contact with Taiwan, and stop creating new factors that could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait,” Mao said at a daily briefing.
China claims Taiwan, a self-governing island of 23 million people off its east coast, as its territory and says it must eventually come under its control. Taiwan and China split in 1949 during a civil war that brought the Communist party to power in Beijing.
The U.S. does not formally recognize Taiwan under its one-China policy but is the island’s main supplier of military equipment and is bound by its own laws to ensure Taiwan can defend itself.
Mao also expressed China’s opposition to an upcoming Taiwan trip by Czech lawmakers. A 14-member delegation is to arrive Sunday for a six-day visit, according to Taiwan media reports.
“China is firmly opposed to any form of official contact between Taiwan and countries having diplomatic relations with China,” Mao said.
She called on the Czech lawmakers “to refrain from sending the wrong signals to the separatist forces of Taiwan independence and to stop undermining … bilateral relations.”
In February, China announced sanctions on Raytheon and Lockheed Martin over a $100 million deal for maintenance of Taiwan’s missile defence systems by the two companies.
China also protested a bill that was approved by a U.S. Senate committee this week that could significantly increase American military support for Taiwan.