China has imposed sanctions on five US arms manufacturers in response to their involvement in weapons sales to Taiwan. Beijing asserts its territorial claim over the self-ruled island and has not ruled out the use of force to achieve its objectives, while the United States is legally obligated to provide Taiwan with defense capabilities.
These sanctions coincide with Taiwan’s upcoming January 13 presidential and parliamentary elections, with China suggesting that the choices made during these elections could determine the path between peace and conflict. The US State Department’s recent approval of a $300 million arms package for Taiwan prompted Beijing to announce unspecified “countermeasures” against the involved companies.
China’s Foreign Ministry targeted BAE Systems Land and Armament, Alliant Techsystems Operation, AeroVironment, ViaSat, and Data Link Solutions with sanctions, involving the freezing of their properties in China and prohibiting transactions and cooperation with them. The ministry emphasized that US arms sales to Taiwan significantly undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests.
As tensions escalate, Beijing has intensified pressure on Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen assumed the presidency in 2016, accusing her of advocating for independence. In response, Tsai has maintained that the future of Taiwan should be determined by its people. The upcoming elections feature Tsai’s vice president, William Lai, running against Hou Yu-ih of the more China-friendly KMT. Against the backdrop of increased military activities, Taiwan has consistently warned Beijing against attempting to influence the election outcome.