The tone continues to rise following the arrival of Pelosi in Taiwan: “Those who offend China will be punished”

“It’s a farce, pure and simple. Under the guise of ‘democracy’, the United States is violating China’s sovereignty,” the minister also declared, on the sidelines of a meeting of the ASEAN (Association of Nations of Southeast Asia) in Phnom Penh.

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

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.

“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.

Beijing announces trade sanctions

China announced Wednesday to suspend the import of certain fruits and fish from Taiwan, as well as the export of sand to the island, in reaction to the visit of the speaker of the American House of Representatives 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. They reacted by condemning his arrival and launching military exercises around the island, which they consider an integral part of China. To these reactions are now added trade sanctions: the Chinese customs administration decided on Wednesday to suspend the import of citrus fruits and certain fish from Taiwan.

She claims to have “repeatedly” detected a type of harmful cochineal on citrus fruits and to have recorded excessive levels of pesticides. Packages containing two types of fish 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 typically used to make concrete and asphalt, and Taiwan relies heavily on China for its supply. This is not the first time that Beijing 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 commercial tensions are high, Chinese regulators generally adopt an extremely strict attitude in terms of compliance with the rules (…) looking for any reason justifying a commercial 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.

Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture also said on Tuesday that China invoked regulatory violations to suspend the import of various goods from the island such as fish products, tea and honey. increasing the pressure on Taiwan since the coming to power in 2016 of the current president Tsai Ing-wen, from a pro-independence party.

China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner, with trade rising 26% in 2021 to $328 billion.

Taiwan ‘won’t back down’ from China’s military threat

Chinese military drills announced in retaliation for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan are violating Taiwanese territorial waters, the island’s defense ministry said on Wednesday.

“Some of China’s maneuver areas encroach on…Taiwan’s territorial waters,” Taiwan Defense Ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang told a news conference. “This is an irrational act aimed at challenging the international order,” he added.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen also said on Wednesday that Taiwan “will not back down” in the face of the military threat from China.

North Korea slams US ‘brazen interference’

Nancy Pelosi, who landed in Taipei on Tuesday evening, is the most senior US official to visit the island in 25 years.

China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory, called the visit a major provocation and issued threats of retaliation. “The brazen interference of the United States in the internal affairs of other countries and its deliberate political and military provocations are undoubtedly the root cause of the deterioration of peace and security in the region,” said a spokesman for the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted by the official KCNA agency.

“Taiwan is an inseparable part of China, and the Taiwan issue concerns China’s internal affairs,” said the spokesman, who assured Beijing of Pyongyang’s “full support”. “We vehemently denounce any interference by any outside force in the Taiwan issue, and fully support the just position of the Chinese government which resolutely upholds the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.

China is North Korea’s longtime ally and main economic backer.

Seoul calls for calm

South Korea on Wednesday called for dialogue to maintain peace and stability in the region, where tensions are rising between the United States and China due to the visit of Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. . “Our government’s position is to maintain close communication with the parties involved. […] considering the importance of peace and stability in the region through dialogue and cooperation,” an official from the presidential office told reporters.

Ms Pelosi is due to travel to Seoul late Wednesday as part of her Asian tour, which has so far been dominated by her arrival in Taipei on Tuesday evening, to which Beijing has promptly responded by announcing major military maneuvers .

Few details have been released about Ms Pelosi’s schedule in Seoul. The only confirmed meeting in South Korea so far is with National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo on Thursday.

“We welcome Ms. Pelosi’s visit to Korea,” the presidential office official said, adding that he hoped for “many results.”

President Yoon Suk-yeol will not meet Ms Pelosi as he is currently on vacation, the official added.

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