The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted online that the sanctions will freeze any assets the companies have in China and prevent organizations and individuals in China from doing business with them. (Related: Top U.S. defense official claims military-industrial complex can handle Russia, China and Middle East conflicts all at once.)
The Foreign Ministry said the sanctions were "in response to these gravely wrong actions taken by the United States," referring to the "illegal unilateral sanctions" on Chinese companies and individuals. The sanctions are also in response to recent arms sales to Taiwan that "seriously harm China's sovereignty and security interests, undermine the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."
"The Chinese government remains unwavering in our resolve to safeguard national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies and citizens," the Foreign Ministry said in its statement.
The five sanctioned companies are BAE Systems Land and Armament, Alliant Techsystems Operation, AeroVironment, ViaSat and Data Link Solutions.
Chinese sanctions are frequently deployed symbolically, as American defense contractors almost never do any business in China.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry's statement did not specify which arms deal or which U.S. sanctions China was responding to. But it should be noted that last month, the U.S. State Department approved a $300 million military deal for Taiwan that includes equipment, training and equipment repair to maintain Taiwan's command, control and military communications capabilities.
The U.S. said the deal would help the democratic self-governing island's ability to modernize its armed forces and maintain a credible defense against any invasion.
"The proposed sale will improve the recipient's capability to meet current and future threats by enhancing operational readiness," said the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency in a news release. The Pentagon added that the sale would assist Taiwan "in maintaining political stability, military balance and economic progress in the region."
Beijing announced these symbolic sanctions less than one week before Taiwan's 23 million citizens elect a new president and legislature in a contest that is being viewed as a litmus test for how Taiwan will move forward with managing its relationship with China.
Since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Beijing has claimed the self-governing island of Taiwan – which it has never ruled – as an integral part of its territory and says that it must come under its rule, either peacefully or through force.
Beijing has ramped up its pressure on Taiwan in recent days, with Chinese President Xi Jinping even using his New Year's Eve address to reiterate his claim that Taiwan would "surely be reunified" with China, even claiming that Taiwan and the mainland are part of the "same family."
Follow CommunistChina.news for more news about China and its contentious relationship with Taiwan.
Watch the video below about China making a "rare" nighttime show of force near Taiwan with more than a dozen fighters and nuclear-capable bombers.
This video is from the Puretrauma357 channel on Brighteon.com.