China Threatens U.S. Firms with Sanctions over F-16 Deal with Taiwan; Defense Analyst Calls Threat ‘Vague’, Says Sanctions Wouldn’t Impact Companies’ Bottom Lines

  • China threatened sanctions against any U.S. firm that is part of the $8 billion sale of F-16 jets to Taiwan, which the Chinese government has vocally opposed.
  • On Tuesday, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency put out a statement “that the U.S. State Department had approved a possible sale of 66 F-16 fighter jets and related equipment.”
  • Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters on Wednesday that “the U.S. should immediately back away from the arms sale.”
  • Geng said: “China will take all necessary measures to safeguard its own interests, including imposing sanctions on U.S. companies involved in this arms sale to Taiwan.”
  • Geng also warned “that the U.S. would bear all the consequences arising from” the sale of the F-16s and  “also urged the U.S. to end military contact with Taiwan.”
  • A senior defense analyst with Rand Corp., Derek Grossman, said: “I think the threat of sanctions right now is quite vague. If you recall last month after the U.S. sold $2 billion worth of Abrams tanks to Taiwan, China similarly threatened sanctions, but nothing has really transpired thus far.”
  • Grossman added: “The firms involved in building the F-16s, they don’t do a whole lot of business in China, and so how that is going to impact those companies’ bottom lines is to be determined.”
  • The row over Taiwan comes as the trade war between the U.S. and China escalates, putting further strain on their already damaged relationship.
  • Though Taiwan is self-governing and “has had de facto independence from China since 1949, China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory which should eventually be reunited with the mainland.”
  • According to “the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. will provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character.”
  • On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “Our actions are consistent with past U.S. policy. We are simply following through on the commitments we’ve made to all of the parties.”

Reference Links

  • NPR: China Vows Sanctions On U.S. Firms For Arms Sales To Taiwan READ
  • BBC: China threatens sanctions over US-Taiwan F-16 fighter plane deal READ
  • ABC: China says it will sanction US firms in Taiwan warplane sale READ
  • The Hill: China threatens to sanction US firms over sales of F-16s to Taiwan READ

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