US aerospace and defense companies face Chinese sanctions over Taiwan deals 

Lockheed-Martin C-130H Hercules ROCAF 1319. Credit: Manuel Negrerie / Flickr

China is to sanction US aerospace and defense companies Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin for providing weapons, including aircraft tracking systems and fighter jets, to Taiwan. 

The sanctions will be imposed under China’s Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, Mao Ning, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, said during a routine press briefing on September 15, 2023. 

“In disregard of China’s firm opposition, the US government deliberately supplies weapons to China’s Taiwan region,” Ning said. “We call on the US to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, stop arms sales to Taiwan, stop military collusion with Taiwan, and stop arming Taiwan, otherwise it will be met with China’s resolute response.”

China accuses Northrop Grumman of having participated in the sale of weapons to Taiwan – which China claims as its territory – ‘many times’, while Lockheed Martin was named as the prime contractor of the latest deal Taipei reached with the US, which was confirmed on August 24, 2023. The extent and consequences of these sanctions is unclear, given that neither company currently sells to China. 

Lockheed Martin has supplied Taiwan’s military with numerous products ranging from the F-104 Starfighter to the F-16A/B MLU Block 20 Fighting Falcon jet, radars, helicopters, and related equipment over the years. It also contributes to the island’s own fighter jet development.  As a consequence, China had already imposed on Lockheed Martin.

With the help of military equipment from the US, Taiwan has already converted 141 F-16A/B jets into F-16Vs and ordered 66 additional F-16Vs with new radar, vastly updated weaponry and avionics, to better compete with China’s Air Force, particularly its J-20 stealth fighters. 

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