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China threatens sanctions against US firms involved in F-16 fighter jets’ sale to Taiwan

China threatens sanctions against US firms involved in F-16 fighter jets’ sale to Taiwan
Beijing has urged Washington to cancel the sale of American F-16 fighter planes to Taiwan, vowing sanctions against US companies that take part in the deal in order “to protect [China’s] interests.”

We demand from the United States to adhere to joint agreements and immediately cancel the supply plan. Otherwise, Washington will have to answer for all the consequences,” Gen Shuang, official representative of China’s Foreign Ministry, said at a news briefing on Wednesday. He stressed that the Taiwan issue relates to purely internal problems of China, and Beijing will firmly defend its interests on the matter, even if it comes to sanctions.

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China will take all possible measures to protect its own interests, including sanctions against US companies that will participate in these arms transfers to Taipei,” he summed up.

The US State Department on Tuesday approved the sale of 66 Lockheed Martin-built F-16 fighter planes to Taiwan. Washington openly admitted that the $8 billion (€7.2 billion) sale serves US economic and national security interests in the region, reasoning that additional arms will help maintain “political stability, military balance, and economic progress” there.

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China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, strongly objected to the move ahead of its approval. Relations between Beijing and Taipei have been strained since 2016, when current Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and his pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party came to power. Beijing believes Ing-wen is planning to secure formal independence for the island with help from the United States.

The latest weapons deal is not the first US attempt to arm Taiwan. Last month, the US State Department approved a $2.2 billion (€1.8 billion) arms package to Taipei that includes M1A2T Abrams tanks as well as surface-to-air missiles.

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