U.S. urges China to stop imposing political views on U.S. companies

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Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, sits during a meeting with Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, Friday, July 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

WASHINGTON (CNA) — The U.S. State Department on July 15 urged China to stop imposing its political views on U.S. companies, in response to Beijing’s threat last week to impose sanctions on American companies selling weapons to Taiwan.

“We will closely monitor any actions that would unfairly disadvantage U.S. firms and urge the Chinese government to refrain from imposing its political views on the U.S and foreign companies,” a State Department spokesperson said in an e-mail reply to a CNA inquiry.

U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are guided by the Taiwan Relations Act and based on assessments of Taiwan’s defense needs, the spokesperson said.

“Our longstanding policy on arms sales to Taiwan remains consistent across multiple U.S. administrations,” the spokesperson said. “Our consistent policy has contributed to the security of Taiwan, and also supported the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

The U.S. announced on July 8 the possible sale of a US$2.22 billion arms package to Taiwan that includes 108 M1A2T Abrams Tanks and relevant equipment and support, 250 Block I-92F MANPAD Stinger missiles, and four Block I-92 MANPAD Stinger Fly-to-Buy missiles and related equipment.

The sale still could undergo a routine Congressional review, but it is expected to go through.

On July 12, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) responded that China will impose sanctions on American companies that participate in the announced arms sale to Taiwan.

Taiwan’s government has hit back at Beijing’s threat, saying Taiwan has the right to defend itself and uphold its sovereignty and independence.

By Chiang Chin-yeh and intern Ching Yi Huang