China Sets Sanctions on Taiwan Figures 08/16 06:09
BEIJING (AP) -- China imposed visa bans and other sanctions Tuesday on
Taiwanese political figures as it raises pressure on the self-governing island
and the U.S. in response to successive congressional visits.
The sanctions come a day after China announced more military exercises in
the seas and skies surrounding Taiwan because of what it called "collusion and
provocation between the U.S. and Taiwan." There's been no word on the timing
and scale of the Chinese exercises.
They were announced the same day a U.S. congressional delegation met with
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, and after a similar visit by U.S. House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-level member of the U.S. government to visit
Taiwan in 25 years. The Chinese government objects to Taiwan having any
official contact with foreign governments because it considers Taiwan its own
territory, and its recent saber rattling has emphasized its threat to take the
island by military force.
Pelosi's visit was followed by nearly two weeks of threatening Chinese
military exercises that included the firing of missiles over the island and
incursions by navy ships and warplanes across the midline of the Taiwan Strait
that has long been a buffer between the sides.
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters
that China had overreacted with its "provocative and totally unnecessary
response to the congressional delegation that visited Taiwan earlier this
The targets of China's latest sanctions include Taiwan's de facto ambassador
to the U.S., Bi-khim Hsiao, and legislators Ker Chien-ming, Koo Li-hsiung, Tsai
Chi-chang, Chen Jiau-hua and Wang Ting-yu, along with activist Lin Fei-fan.
They will be barred from traveling to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao,
and from having any financial or personal connections with people and entities
on the mainland, according to the ruling Communist Party's Taiwan Work Office.
The measures were designed to "resolutely punish" those considered "diehard
elements" supporting Taiwan's independence, China's official Xinhua News Agency
Premier Su Tseng-chang, leader of the legislature You Si-kun and Foreign
Minister Joseph Wu were already on China's sanctions list and will face more
restrictions, Xinhua said.
China exercises no legal authority over Taiwan and it's unclear what effect
the sanctions would have. China has refused all contact with Taiwan's
government since shortly after the 2016 election of Tsai, who was
overwhelmingly reelected in 2020.
Taiwan's Foreign Ministry tweeted its appreciation for the most recent
congressional visit, adding that "Authoritarian #China can't dictate how
democratic #Taiwan makes friends, wins support, stays resilient & shines like a
beacon of freedom."
Tsai's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party also controls the
legislature, and the vast majority of Taiwanese favor maintaining the status
quo of de facto independence amid strong economic and social connections
between the sides.
China accuses the U.S. of encouraging the island's independence through the
sale of weapons and engagement between U.S. politicians and the island's
government. Washington says it does not support independence, has no formal
diplomatic ties with the island and maintains that the two sides should settle
their dispute peacefully -- but it is legally bound to ensure the island can
defend itself against any attack.
Taiwan has put its military on alert, but has taken no major countermeasures
against the Chinese actions. That has been reflected in overriding calm and
widespread ambivalence among the public, who have lived under threat of Chinese
attack for more than seven decades.
Taiwan's Defense Ministry announced air force and ground-to-air missile
drills would be held later in the week.