China imposes executive sanctions on Raytheon and Boeing Defense over Taiwan

In response to a significant U.S. arms sale to competitor Taiwan, China slapped sanctions on Friday against the CEOs of American defense contractors Raytheon and Boeing Defense.

The spokesperson for the foreign ministry, Mao Ning, did not explain what penalties would be imposed on Ted Colbert, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, and Gregory Hayes, chairman and CEO of Raytheon Technologies Corp.

Although the effect they would have on the executives or their organizations was not immediately obvious, such fines are frequently primarily symbolic in character.

Last Monday, the United States announced a $1.09 billion arms deal to Taiwan, including $355 million for Harpoon missiles from Boeing and $85 million for Sidewinder missiles from Raytheon.

At a daily briefing, Mao urged the U.S. government and relevant parties to “avoid creating new circumstances that could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait, cease arms shipments to Taiwan, and stop military contact with Taiwan.”

China declares Taiwan, a self-governing island off its east coast with a population of 23 million, to be its territory and asserts that it would soon fall under Chinese rule. In 1949, during a civil war that saw the Communist Party seize control of Beijing, Taiwan and China split apart.

The U.S. is Taiwan’s primary supplier of military hardware and is required by its own laws to ensure Taiwan can defend itself even if it does not legally recognize Taiwan as part of its one-China policy.