The visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi prompted a number of stern warnings from China, which warned the act was a major provocation.
In response to Ms. Pelosi’s visit, China announced trade sanctions, limiting the import of fruits and fish from Taiwan. He also stops sand shipments to the island.
The trip by Ms. Pelosi, who is the second president and the highest American lawmaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, has sparked a diplomatic storm.
She landed on Tuesday evening in the wake of increasingly strong warnings from China, which considers that the island forming part of its territory must one day be reconquered, by force if necessary.
Analysts believe more trade disruptions are ahead
China’s customs administration announced on Wednesday that it will suspend certain citrus imports from Taiwan due to the alleged “repeated” detection of excess pesticide residues and the import of fish due to testing. of positive coronaviruses on packaging.
In a separate notice, the Commerce Ministry added that it would also “suspend the export of natural sand to Taiwan” from Wednesday, without providing details.
Natural sand is generally used to produce concrete and asphalt, and most of the sand and gravel imported from Taiwan comes from China.
These measures are part of a “common pattern for Beijing”, said Even Pay, an agricultural analyst at consultancy Trivium China.
Further disruptions to agricultural and food trade can be expected in the coming days, she added.
“When diplomatic or trade tensions are high, Chinese regulators typically take an extremely strict approach to compliance … looking for any issues that can be used to justify a trade ban,” she told the newspaper. AFP.
China is Taiwan’s biggest trading partner and export market, with two-way trade growing 26 percent year on year to reach $328 billion in 2021, according to official data.
This is not the first time that Beijing has targeted the island’s exports.
China banned pineapple imports in March 2021, citing the discovery of pests, in a move widely seen as politically motivated.
China announces military drills within 20km of Taiwan coastline
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have also announced live-fire military exercises to encircle Taiwan, in a move the Taipei Defense Ministry said threatens major ports and urban areas.
In some places, the area of Chinese operations will be within 20 kilometers of Taiwan’s coastline, according to coordinates shared by the People’s Liberation Army.
Taiwan’s 23 million people have long lived with the possibility of invasion, but that threat has intensified under President Xi Jinping, China’s most assertive leader in a generation.
Beijing has stepped up pressure on Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, as she views the island as a de facto sovereign nation and not part of “one China”.
“Taiwan will not back down”
The Taiwanese president adopted a defiant tone, saying there would be no “stepping back”.
“In the face of deliberately increased military threats, Taiwan will not back down. We will continue to maintain the line of defense of democracy,” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said at an event with Pelosi in Taipei.
She also thanked Ms Pelosi for “taking concrete steps to show your unwavering support for Taiwan at this critical time.”
“Today our delegation … came to Taiwan to say unequivocally that we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan,” she said at the event with Ms. Tsai.
Earlier, Ms Pelosi said her group had come “in friendship to Taiwan” and “in peace to the region”.
China tries to keep Taiwan isolated on the world stage and opposes countries having official trade with Taipei.
President Joe Biden’s administration said ahead of the visit that US policy toward Taiwan remained unchanged.
This means supporting its government while diplomatically recognizing Beijing rather than Taipei, and opposing a formal declaration of independence from Taiwan or a forced takeover by China.
While the White House is said to be opposed to stopping Ms Pelosi in Taiwan, her National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said she had the right to go where she wanted.
Australia joins other nations in calling for de-escalation
Japan, a key US ally in the region, said on Wednesday it had expressed concern to China over the drills, while South Korea called for dialogue to maintain regional peace and stability. .
Both countries are on Ms. Pelosi’s Asian itinerary, after stops in Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said it was important to avoid any prospect of military conflict.
“All parties should consider how best to contribute to the de-escalation of current tensions, and we all want peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” she told ABC radio on Wednesday.
“We have a situation where we see the rhetoric increasing and we see military hardware being deployed.”
Ms Wong reiterated Australia’s support for a one-China policy, where Taiwan is not recognized as a country and the government in Beijing is the only Chinese government.
“Australia has a bipartisan one-China policy, and we have a bipartisan policy of that, discouraging unilateral changes to the status quo,” she said.
“We must continue with others in the region to urge the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.”