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China plans sanctions on Boeing Defense and Raytheon CEOs over sales to Taiwan

China will impose sanctions on the chief executives of Boeing Defense and Raytheon for their involvement in Washington’s latest arms sales to Taiwan, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Friday.

Sanctions against Boeing Defense, Space, and Security CEO Ted Colbert and Raytheon Technologies boss Gregory Hayes follow US State Department September 2 approval of military equipment sale in Taiwan.

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These sales include 60 anti-ship missiles and 100 air-to-air missiles, whose main respective contractors are Boeing Defense, a division of Boeing, and Raytheon.

Colbert and Hayes will be sanctioned “in order to protect China’s sovereignty and security interests”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said, citing “their involvement in these arms sales”.

Mao did not specify what the sanctions would entail or how they would be applied. Neither company sells defense products to China, but both have strong commercial aviation operations there.

U.S. defense procurement rules generally prohibit Chinese-origin content, so the sanctions have had no impact on the U.S. military.

“The Chinese side once again urges the US government and relevant entities to … stop selling arms to Taiwan and US-Taiwanese military contacts.”

The Pentagon announced the package in the wake of China’s aggressive military exercises around Taiwan following a visit last month by Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, the highest ranking US official to visited Taipei for years.

China has already sanctioned Raytheon, Boeing Defense and unspecified individuals involved in arms sales to Taiwan.

A Raytheon spokesperson declined to comment. Boeing declined to comment immediately, but said on Thursday it planned to market some planes it had reserved for Chinese airlines as geopolitical tensions delayed deliveries.

In December 2021, China approved the return to service of Boeing’s 737 MAX after it was grounded following two crashes involving the jetliner that killed 346 people.

Despite the approval, Chinese airlines have not resumed flying the MAX and have not accepted deliveries of new MAX planes. The US government has previously accused the Chinese government of blocking tens of billions of dollars of MAX shipments to China.

Before the MAX was grounded, Boeing sold a quarter of the planes it built each year to Chinese buyers, its biggest customers.

Raytheon sells in China through its United Technologies motor business.

Friday’s announcement marks the first time that Beijing has identified and imposed sanctions against individuals from these companies.

Beijing sees the self-governing island of Taiwan as a capricious province that it has pledged to control, by force if necessary.

Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims, saying only its people can decide its future, and vows to defend itself if attacked.

Read more: China files complaint as US Senate panel advances military support for Taiwan