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China retaliates against US with sanctions on Raytheon and Lockheed Martin

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Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

The Chinese government has imposed sanctions on the United States' largest defense contractors, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, a retaliatory measure over the U.S. shooting down a Chinese balloon and placing its own sanctions on China.

While the move is largely a symbolic gesture, it comes amid rising tensions between the two nations, as according to the Wall Street Journal, China has placed the companies on their “unreliable entities list” due to dealings with Taiwan. The list prohibits them from importing/exporting with China.

Earlier in the same week, China responded to American sanctions, vowing to take "countermeasures."

"China firmly opposes this and will take countermeasures in accordance with the law against the relevant U.S. entities that undermine China’s sovereignty and security,” said China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin.

China will "resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and its legitimate rights and interests," the official added.

The week before, Washington sanctioned six Chinese companies it says were linked to the balloon surveillance program.

At the same time, President Biden gave remarks stating that three of the four balloons that were subsequently shot down were not related to Chinese surveillance.

"Make no mistake, if any object presents a threat to the safety and security of the American people, I will take it down," Biden stated.

"I make no apologies for taking down that balloon," he said about the original Chinese aircraft.

In December 2022, the U.S. State Department approved three packages of weaponry to Taiwan, including C-130 aircraft along with F-16 fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin, in addition to anti-tank mine systems sold by another company.

A Lockheed Martin spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that the company works closely with and adheres to government policy in terms of foreign business and governments.

The Chinese ministry also declared it would be fining both of the sanctioned companies for twice the value of the arms they have sold to Taiwan since 2020, giving them 15 days to pay with unknown consequences.

The sanctions also prevent new investments from Lockheed Martin or Raytheon in China and bars senior executives of either company from entering the country.

President Biden said that while he is not interested in a "cold war," he is interested in competing with China.

"Since the beginning of my administration we seek competition, not conflict, with China. We're not looking for a new cold war ... but I make no apologies and we will compete."

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