World · August 3, 2022

China hits Taiwan with trade limits over Pelosi’s visit as Taiwan says it “won’t back down”

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan sparked a series of strong warnings from China, which warned the act was a major provocation.
In response to Ms. Pelosi’s visit, China has announced trade sanctions, limiting the import of fruit and fish from Taiwan. It is also disrupting sand shipments to the island.

The trip by Mr Pelosi, who is second in line since the presidency and the highest elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, has sparked a diplomatic storm.

It landed late Tuesday in the wake of growing warnings from China, which considers the island a part of its territory to be reclaimed one day, if necessary by force.

Analysts believe more trade disruptions are on the way

China’s customs administration said Wednesday that it will suspend some citrus imports from Taiwan over alleged “repeat” detection of excessive pesticide residues and fish imports due to coronavirus positive tests on packaging.
In a separate notice, the Commerce Ministry added that it “will also suspend the export of natural sand to Taiwan” from Wednesday, without giving details.

Natural sand is generally used for making cement and asphalt, and most of the sand and gravel imported from Taiwan comes from China.

The moves are part of a “common pattern for Beijing,” said Even Pay, an agricultural analyst at consulting firm Trivium China.
Further disruptions in agricultural and food trade are expected in the coming days, he added.
“When diplomatic or trade tensions are high, Chinese regulators typically take an extremely rigorous approach to compliance … looking for any issues that can be used to justify a trade ban,” he told AFP.
China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner and export market, with bilateral trade growing 26% year-on-year to $ 328 billion in 2021, according to official data.
It is not the first time that Beijing has targeted the island’s exports.

China banned pineapple imports in March 2021, citing the pest discovery, in a move widely considered politically driven.

China announces that military exercises will arrive within 20 km of the Taiwan coast

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities also announced planned live-fire military exercises around Taiwan, in a move the Taipei Defense Ministry said key ports and urban areas under threat.

At some points, the area of ​​Chinese operations will come within 20 kilometers of the Taiwan coast, according to coordinates shared by the People’s Liberation Army.

China got married as Nancy Pelosi comes in the image of Taiwan

Taiwan’s 23 million people have long lived with the possibility of an invasion, but this threat has intensified under President Xi Jinping, China’s strongest leader in a generation.

Beijing has stepped up pressure on Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, as it views the island as a de facto sovereign nation and not part of “one China”.

“Taiwan will not back down”

The Taiwanese president has touched a defiant tone, saying there will be no “retreat”.
“In the face of deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down. We will continue … to maintain the defense line of democracy,” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said at an event with Ms. Pelosi in Taipei.
He also thanked Ms. Pelosi for “taking concrete action to show her firm support for Taiwan at this critical time.”

“Today, our delegation … came to Taiwan to make it clear that we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan,” she said with Ms. Tsai at the event.

Earlier, Ms. Pelosi said her group came “in friendship to Taiwan” and “in peace to the region”.
China tries to keep Taiwan isolated on the world stage and opposes countries that have official trade with Taipei.
President Joe Biden’s administration said ahead of the visit that US policy towards Taiwan remained unchanged.
This means support for his government as it diplomatically acknowledges Beijing over Taipei and opposes a formal declaration of independence by Taiwan or a forced takeover by China.

Although the White House is opposed to Ms. Pelosi’s stop in Taiwan, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said she had the right to go where she was happy.

Australia joins other nations urging de-escalation

Japan, a key US ally in the region, said Wednesday it expressed concern to China over the exercises, while South Korea called for dialogue to maintain peace and stability in the region.
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 help ease the current tensions and we all want peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

“We have a situation where we see increasing rhetoric and we see the deployment of military hardware.”
Ms Wong reiterated Australia’s support for a single China policy, where Taiwan is not recognized as a country and that the Beijing government is the only Chinese government.
“Australia has a bipartisan policy in China, and we have a bipartisan policy of that, which discourages unilateral changes to the status quo,” he said.

“We should continue with others in the region to urge the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.”