Beijing has fired a warning to the USA over its arms sales to Taiwan with a new round of sanctions. The move is symbolic for now, but if China wants to get tough it really could hammer the supply chains of the impacted arms companies.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Beijing would be placing sanctions on a number of US firms and linked individuals over arms sales to Taiwan, with Washington having approved a record sale worth around $5 billion to the island the previous week.
The listed companies included Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defense and Raytheon, striking at the heart of what is often referred to as ‘America’s Military Industrial Complex’.
However, what the specific measures mean, how they will be implemented and what their impact might be remains to be seen.
At first glance, these sanctions look symbolic; such military firms do not pursue business in China, and do not have market traction in America. One exception is Boeing’s civilian wing, which stated in an email it was still committed to the Chinese market.
The strategic implications of this are quite clear; the US military relies deeply on materials imported from China to manufacture its equipment. If Beijing wanted, these sanctions could hammer the supply chains of the impacted firms.
Given all this, China’s sanctions against US defense firms are less a policy in practice as they are a pronouncement of things to come. While Beijing is not ready to take advantage of America’s dependency on rare earths yet, it is signalling clearly it is ready to take measures against US companies where it sees fit
A month ago, China released its own ‘entity list’ – an export blacklist which may prohibit exports or business with companies that are deemed a threat to national security, deliberately mirroring that used by the US Department of Commerce against Chinese companies.
Commenting on the US decision, the Chinese Foreign Ministry called on the United States to cancel the proposed arms deal, adding that China would make necessary responses in accordance with the development of the situation.
Beijing has always called Taiwan “an inseparable part of its territory” and asked other countries to adhere to the “One China” policy.
While Washington does not officially recognize Taiwan as an independent state entity, sticking rather to the “One China” policy, it has actually kept informal relations with the island, including arms supplies, after breaking off diplomatic relations with it in 1979.
RT. com / Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2020.