China has imposed sanctions on five American defense-related companies in retaliation to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and U.S. sanctions on Chinese companies and individuals. The sanctioned firms include BAE Systems Land and Armaments, Alliant Techsystems Operations, AeroVironment, ViaSat, and Data Link Solutions. The sanctions will freeze any assets these companies have in China and prohibit Chinese organizations and individuals from conducting business with them. The impact of these sanctions is uncertain, as American defense contractors typically do not sell to China, making these sanctions potentially symbolic.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry stated that the U.S. actions harm China’s sovereignty and security interests, disrupt peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and violate the rights of Chinese companies and individuals. This move comes less than a week before Taiwan’s presidential election, which is heavily influenced by the island’s relationship with China. The sanctions are a response to the U.S. approval of a $300 million military package for Taiwan in December, aimed at maintaining Taiwan’s command, control, and communications capabilities. The U.S. justifies the sale as support for Taiwan’s armed forces modernization and defense maintenance.