BEIJING (Agencies): In response to US sanctions and arms sales to Taiwan, China has imposed sanctions on five American defense-related companies. The sanctions, announced on Sunday, will freeze any assets these companies hold in China and bar Chinese organizations and individuals from conducting business with them, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

The affected companies are BAE Systems Land and Armament, Alliant Techsystems Operation, AeroVironment, ViaSat, and Data Link Solutions. The Foreign Ministry stated that the US actions have infringed upon China’s sovereignty and security interests, disrupted peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and violated the rights and interests of Chinese companies and individuals.

The Chinese government reiterated its unwavering commitment to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity, as well as to protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies and citizens. Last month, the US approved the sale of approximately $300 million in communications and other defense-related equipment to Taiwan. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin had warned at the time that China would retaliate against companies involved in arms sales to Taiwan.

Taiwan, a self-governing island off China’s east coast, is a significant flashpoint in US-China relations. China views Taiwan as a renegade province that must eventually come under Beijing’s control and sees US arms sales to Taiwan as interference in its domestic affairs. The Chinese military regularly conducts operations in and over the waters around Taiwan, partly to deter the island’s government from declaring formal independence. While an invasion does not seem imminent, the constant military activity serves as a reminder of the ever-present threat.

The US switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1971 but is bound by its own laws to ensure Taiwan’s ability to defend itself. The US and its allies regularly sail warships through the Taiwan Strait, a 160-kilometer-wide (100-mile) waterway that separates the island from China.

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