China to sanction 5 US manufacturers over arms sales to Taiwan – ministry

BEIJING (Reuters) -China will sanction five U.S. military manufacturers in response to the latest round of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Sunday.

U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are a frequent source of tension between Washington and Beijing. China views democratically governed Taiwan as its territory, a claim Taiwan’s government rejects.

The sanctions come ahead of Taiwan’s Jan. 13 presidential and parliamentary elections, which China has cast as a choice between war and peace.

The U.S. State Department last month approved $300 million sale of equipment to help maintain Taiwan’s tactical information systems.

The spokesperson said in a statement the recent arms sales “seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests, seriously jeopardise peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”.

The companies to be that will be sanctioned are BAE Systems Land and Armaments, Alliant Techsystems Operations, AeroVironment, Viasat and Data Link Solutions.

China will freeze the assets of these companies and ban people or organisations in China from engaging them, the spokesperson said.

The U.S. embassy in Beijing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by William Mallard)