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Pelosi meets Taiwan President, China responds with heavy sanctions

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, marking a significant show of support for Taiwan despite China’s threats of retaliation over the visit.

During the meeting, Tsai presented Pelosi with a medal.

Pelosi’s stop in Taipei became the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit the self-ruled island claimed by China. Her trip comes at a low point in US-China relations and despite warnings from Beijing, threatening the Chinese military never “sit idly by” if she made the trip.

China’s warnings

The Chinese government has repeatedly warned that if US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan it could trigger an international war.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated just prior to Pelosi’s visit, “China will take resolute and strong measures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The US government has seemingly ignored the warnings, when questioned over China’s threats Pelosi has chosen to focus solely on Taiwan, “America’s determination to preserve democracy here in Taiwan and around the world remains ironclad,” she stated during a ceremony with President Tsai

Freedom with security

The United States wants Taiwan to always have freedom with security and will not back away from that, Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday, during a visit to Taipei.

While respecting the “One China” policy, our solidarity with Taiwan is more important than ever, Pelosi said, during a joint news conference with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. The US supports the status quo and does not want anything to happen to Taiwan by force, Pelosi added.

Asked about the economic consequences Taiwan has to face as a result of her visit, Pelosi said the US’ chips act opens the door for better economic exchanges between the United States and Taiwan.

Taiwan is committed to maintaining the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, Tsai said, adding that China’s military exercises, launched in response to Pelosi’s visit, were an unnecessary reaction.

Challenge to international order

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said China’s notice that aircraft should not enter drill areas in waters near the island is a provocation that challenges international order, and Taiwan will stay in contact with countries including the United States to avoid escalating tensions.

China responded to the arrival of Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan late on Tuesday with a burst of military activity.

Punishments for ‘Taiwan independence’ elements

The Chinese mainland has announced punishments for organisations related to die-hard Taiwan independence elements.

Under the guise of “democracy” and “cooperation and development,” “Taiwan Foundation for Democracy” and “International Cooperation and Development Fund” have wantonly carried out “Taiwan independence” separatist activities in the international arena, said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

China will prohibit mainland organisations, enterprises or individuals from any transaction or cooperation with Speedtech Energy, Hyweb Technology, Skyla, SkyEyes GPS Technology and other enterprises that have donated money to the foundations. Heads of relevant enterprises will be banned from entering the mainland, Ma said.

Economic sanctions

On Wednesday, China suspended exports of natural sand to Taiwan and halted imports of fruit and fish products.

Chinese customs had suspended imports from 35 Taiwanese exporters of biscuits and pastries since Monday.

In January-June, China’s imports from Taiwan reached USD 122.5 billion, up 7.3 percent from a year earlier, Chinese customs data showed. Top imported goods included integrated circuits and electronic components.

Natural sand

China’s commerce ministry said exports of natural sand – widely used for construction and in concrete – to Taiwan were suspended from Wednesday.

The move was based on laws and regulations, the ministry said, without elaborating.

In March 2007, China halted exports of natural sand to Taiwan due to environmental concerns. The ban lasted for a year. According to Chinese official data, more than 90 pct of Taiwan’s natural sand imports came from China in 2007.

Fruit and fish

China also halted imports of citrus fruit, chilled white striped hairtail and frozen horse mackerel from Taiwan from Wednesday, a suspension which it said was due to pesticide residue found on citrus fruit, while traces of the novel coronavirus were detected on the packaging of some frozen fish products in June.

China’s top food and agricultural imports from Taiwan include seafood, coffee, dairy products, beverages and vinegar.

In January-June, China’s biggest agricultural and food import items from Taiwan were fish and other aquatic invertebrates, reaching 399 mln yuan (EUR 58 mln).

Earlier this year, China suspended imports of grouper fish from Taiwan, saying it had detected banned chemicals.

Last year, Beijing also suspended pineapple, sugar apple and wax apple imports from the island, citing pest concerns.

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