Taiwan: Beijing deploys sanctions and military exercises

Taïwan: Beijing deploys sanctions and military exercises


China on Wednesday rolled out a series of trade sanctions against Taiwan, as well as military exercises near the island, in response to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

The trip of Ms. Pelosi, the most important American elected official to visit Taipei in 25 years, has sparked the anger of the Chinese authorities.

“Nothing good will happen to those who play with fire. Those who offend China must be punished, inevitably,” warned Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

< p>“It's a farce pure and simple. Under cover of +democracy+, the United States violates the sovereignty of China”, he added from Phnom Penh where he attends an ASEAN meeting ( Association of Southeast Asian Nations).

Asked Wednesday during a regular press briefing, Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke of the “retaliatory measures” that China could take after this visit.

“He there will be everything necessary. These measures will be firm, forceful and effective. The American side and the supporters of Taiwan independence will feel them over time,” she said.

< strong>– Citrus and sand – 

On Tuesday, China announced military exercises around Taiwan, an island it considers part of its territory.

Some of these exercises will approach up to 20 kilometers from the Taiwanese coast , according to contact details released by Chinese state media. 

Taiwanese Ministry of Defense has protested, saying this will threaten several ports and urban areas on the island.

In addition, Beijing announced a series of trade sanctions: Chinese customs decided on Wednesday to suspend the import of citrus fruits and certain fish from Taiwan.

They claim to have “repeatedly” detected a type of harmful mealybug on citrus and having recorded excessive levels of pesticides. Packages containing two types of fish have also tested positive for coronavirus, she said.

For its part, the Ministry of Commerce announced “suspending the export of natural sand to Taiwan” from Wednesday, without giving any explanation.

Natural sand is generally used to make concrete and asphalt, and Taiwan depends mainly on China for its supply.

– “Classic diagram” –&nbsp ;

This is not the first time that China has targeted trade with other countries or with Taiwan in this way.

It is “a classic pattern for Beijing” , notes Even Pay, an analyst specializing in agriculture at Trivium China.

“When diplomatic and trade tensions are high, Chinese regulators usually adopt an extremely strict attitude in terms of compliance with the rules (…) looking for any reason justifying a trade ban,” she adds.

In March 2021, China banned imports of pineapples from the island, claiming to have discovered parasites there, a measure then interpreted as a political sanction.

The Taiwan Council of Agriculture also said on Tuesday that China invoked regulatory violations to suspend the import of different goods from the island such as fish products, tea and honey.

Chinese authorities have been mounting pressure on Taiwan, an island of 23 million, since current President Tsai Ing-wen, from a pro-independence party, came to power in 2016.

China is Taiwan's largest trading partner, with trade that has grown. ripped in 2021 by 26%, to $328 billion.