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China plans to sanction Lockheed Martin for arms gross sales in Taiwan

© Reuters. The Lockheed Martin logo can be seen during the Japan Aerospace 2016 air show in Tokyo

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will impose sanctions Lockheed Martin (N 🙂 for participating in the recent U.S. arms sale to China, which China claims, China said on Tuesday, strengthening its difficult relationship with the United States.

The U.S. arms maker is the prime contractor for a $ 620 million upgrade package for Taiwan's Patriot surface-to-air missile, which the U.S. government approved last week.

Chinese Department of State spokesman Zhao Lijian called on the United States to end arms sales to Taiwan to "prevent further damage to US-China relations and cross-strait peace and stability."

"To protect the country's interests, China has decided to take the necessary steps and sanction the prime contractor for this sale, Lockheed Martin," Zhao told reporters without giving details.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The United States, like most countries, does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is legally required to provide the democratic island with the means to defend itself.

China has previously announced similar sanctions against US arms sales companies in Taiwan, although it is unclear what form they took.

The United States has had an arms embargo against China for a long time.

The government in Taiwan has welcomed the missile upgrade. It strengthens its defenses for what Beijing sees as increasingly threatening, like the regular air force and naval exercises near Taiwan.

Taiwan Defense Minister Yen Teh-fa, who visited troops during the annual Han Kuang military exercise, said they should be strong against "all kinds of threats and provocations" from China.

"This tells our people and the communists that we have the confidence and ability to protect our people and our homeland and to defend the security of the country," his ministry quoted him.

While Taiwan's military is well trained and equipped with hardware largely made in the United States, China is vastly superior in number and adds its own advanced equipment such as stealth fighters and new ballistic missiles.

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