China has imposed sanctions on five Western defense firms in response to the latest series of US arms sales to Taiwan, coinciding with the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in

Taiwan on January 13.

Tensions have long simmered between Beijing and Washington over US arms sales to Taiwan, with China claiming Taiwan as its territory despite Taiwan's rejection of this assertion.

Last month, the US State Department greenlit a $300 million arms sale to bolster Taiwan's tactical information systems, drawing strong objection from China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned these actions as severely compromising China's sovereignty and security interests and undermining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

The firms facing sanctions include BAE Systems Land and Armament, Alliant Techsystems Operation, AeroVironment, ViaSat, and Data Link Solutions. China has announced freezing their assets and prohibiting individuals and entities within China from conducting business with them.

Efforts to seek comment from the US embassy in Beijing regarding these sanctions are ongoing.

China's actions come amid heightened pressure on Taiwan ahead of pivotal elections that could reshape the island's relationship with China. Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his New Year's Eve address, reiterated his stance that Taiwan would ultimately be reunified with China, adopting a stronger tone compared to his previous year's message that emphasized a familial connection between Taiwan and the mainland.

China perceives Taiwan, home to 23 million people, as a renegade province destined for eventual reunification under Beijing's rule. However, Taiwan maintains its distinct identity, boasting its own constitution and democratically elected leadership. Photo by Chensiyuan, edit by DXR, Wikimedia commons.