Arms sales to Taiwan government-to-government deals: Lockheed Martin
Washington, July 14 (CNA) U.S.-based weapons supplier Lockheed Martin has described arms sales to Taiwan as government to government deals, in response to China's threat to impose sanctions on the company for selling weapons to Taiwan.
"Foreign Military Sales (FMS) are government-to-government transactions and we work closely with the U.S. government on any military sales to international customers," Trent Perrotto, director of Lockheed Martine's Global Media Relations said in a statement Tuesday in response to CNA's request for comment on Beijing's threat.
Earlier in the day, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China firmly opposes arms sales from the United States to Taiwan and will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin, an aerospace, defense, arms, security, and advanced technologies suppler.
He said Washington should stop selling arms to Taiwan and cut its military ties with Taiwan to prevent further harm to bilateral relations, but he did not offer details on potential sanctions on Lockheed Martin.
Zhao's threat followed the U.S. State Department's announcement last week that it has approved a request by Taiwan for the recertification of its Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) air defense missiles for about US$620 million.
The main contractor for the deal, aimed at upgrading Taiwan's Patriot surface-to-air missiles, is Lockheed Martin.
Asked whether China's threats would affect the planned arms sales to Taiwan, Perrotto simply said any discussions about sales to foreign governments are best addressed by the U.S. government.
Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) condemned Beijing's threats, saying its deployment of warplanes and warships in areas near Taiwan in recent months have destabilized regional peace and security and posed a major threat to the security of Taiwan and nearby nations.
The latest U.S. arms package for Taiwan is the seventh the Donald Trump administration has announced since taking office in January 2017, according to Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense.
Lockheed Martin is one of the world's largest weapon manufacturers and has supplied Taiwan's Air Force with everything from F-104 Starfighters to the F-16A/B MLU Block 20 Fighting Falcon in past decades.
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