News ID: 105475
Publish Date : 03 August 2022 - 22:03

BEIJING (Dispatches) – China has launched a volley of trade curbs against Taiwan in addition to live-fire military drills, as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island despite Beijing’s warnings.
China considers Taiwan its territory and tries to keep it isolated internationally, opposing countries from maintaining official contacts with the self-ruled island.
After Pelosi became the highest-profile elected U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday the response will be “resolute, forceful and effective”.
Although much attention has been on Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the real potential for a military showdown comes now that she has left.
China’s military has said it will conduct a series of live-fire drills beginning on Thursday. A post on Chinese state media offered coordinates for six swaths of sea surrounding Taiwan, three of which overlap with areas that Taiwan says are a part of its territorial waters.
Some of the areas are inside what Taiwan says are its territorial waters, and they are closer to Taiwan than similar areas announced during the Taiwan Strait crisis in the mid-1990s.
Exercises will be held in areas less than 10 miles from the Taiwanese coast.
The drills, assuming that they go forward, would mark a direct challenge to what Taiwan defines as its coastline. They would also strike at the heart of a decades-long disagreement in which China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, a self-ruled island with its own democratically elected government and military.
In its warning, China’s military called for all boats and airplanes to avoid the areas it identified for 72 hours. For Taiwan, and the United States military, a key question will be whether they obey the orders or test China’s resolve to carry out the tests by sending boats and planes into those zones.
The standoff is reminiscent of an incident in 1995 and 1996 called the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis. Back then, China fired live ammunition and missiles into the waters around Taiwan to signal its anger over a trip by Taiwan’s then-president, Li Teng-hui, to the United States, and to raise pressure before a presidential election. The United States then sent two aircraft carrier groups to the area and sailed one through the Taiwan Strait.
The new live-fire drills will occur in areas closer to the island than those in 1995 and 1996, presenting a conundrum to Taiwan and the United States. If China takes action, they must decide whether to offer a show of force similar to the earlier crisis.
Much has changed since then. China’s military is more powerful and more emboldened under Xi Jinping. This summer, Chinese officials also strongly asserted that no part of the Taiwan Strait could
be considered international waters, meaning they might move to intercept and block U.S. warships sailing through the area, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
China has wasted little time in signaling that it is serious. On Wednesday its state broadcaster released images from preparatory

 drills in the area indicating Chinese forces were in the north, southwest and southeast of Taiwan to practice sea assaults and land strikes, aerial combat and “joint containment.”
Also on Wednesday, Taiwan’s military sought to hold the line, while signaling that it did not wish to escalate the situation. Calling the drills a blockade, it said the exercises had intruded into Taiwan’s territorial waters and endangered international waterways and regional security.
“We resolutely defend national sovereignty and will counter any aggression against national sovereignty,” said Maj. Gen. Sun Li-fang, a spokesman for Taiwan’s defense ministry, in response to the drills.
“We will strengthen our vigilance with a rational attitude which won’t escalate conflicts,” he added.
China on Wednesday also imposed curbs on the import of fruit and fish from Taiwan.
Its customs authorities said it would suspend some citrus fruit imports over alleged “repeated” detection of excessive pesticide residue.
It also banned the import of certain fish from the island, pointing to the discovery of the coronavirus on packages.
These bans came a day after Taipei’s Council of Agriculture said China had cited regulatory breaches in suspending the import of Taiwanese goods including fishery products, tea and honey.
It is not the first time Beijing has aimed at Taiwan’s agricultural products -- it banned pineapple imports in March 2021, citing the discovery of pests. However, the move was widely seen as politically driven.
The moves are part of a “common pattern for Beijing”, said Even Pay, an agriculture analyst at consultancy Trivium China.
More disruptions of agricultural and food trade can be expected in the coming days, she added.
The Chinese commerce ministry said in a separate notice that it would “suspend the export of natural sand to Taiwan” from Wednesday, without providing details.
Natural sand is generally used for producing concrete and asphalt, and most of Taiwan’s imported sand and gravel comes from China.
Bans on ‘Secessionists’
Beijing has ramped 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”.
The Chinese State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Wednesday that it will punish two Taiwan organizations with close links to “die-hard” secessionists -- the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and International Cooperation and Development Fund.
Enterprises that have donated to the groups, such as Speedtech Energy and Hyweb Technology, will also be prohibited from working with Chinese firms.
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