Taipei/Frankfurt/Washington, Sept. 13 (Reuters) – The United States is considering options for a sanctions package against China to deter it from invading Taiwan, with the European Union coming under diplomatic pressure from Taipei to do the same, according to informed sources. with discussions.
The sources said the deliberations in Washington and Taipei’s separate pressure for EU envoys were at an early stage – a response to fears of a Chinese invasion that escalated as military tensions escalated in the Taiwan Strait.
Either way, the idea is to take sanctions that go beyond measures already taken in the West to restrict some trade and investment with China in sensitive technologies such as computer chips and communications equipment. Read more
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The sources gave no details of what was being considered, but the idea of sanctions on the world’s second-largest economy and one of the world’s largest supply chain links raises questions about the viability.
“Potential sanctions against China is a much more complex exercise than sanctions against Russia, given the extensive involvement of the United States and its allies with the Chinese economy,” said Nasak Nikakhtar, a former senior official at the US Department of Commerce.
China claims Taiwan as its territory, and last month launched missiles over the island and sailed warships across its unofficial maritime border after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in what Beijing saw as a provocation. Read more
Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to bring democratically governed Taiwan under the control of Beijing and has not ruled out the use of force. He is due to receive a third five-year term of leadership at a Communist Party congress next month. The Taiwan government firmly rejects China’s sovereignty claims.
In response to the news about the sanctions package, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry in Beijing warned against underestimating China.
“I want to stress that no country or person should underestimate the firm resolve and strong will of the Chinese government and people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity and realize the reunification of the motherland,” said the spokesperson, Mao Ning. Wednesday.
A US official and a country official, in close coordination with Washington, said officials in Washington are studying options for a possible package of sanctions against China to deter Xi from attempting to invade Taiwan.
The two sources said US talks on sanctions began after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, but became a new urgency after the Chinese reaction to Pelosi’s visit.
The United States, backed by NATO allies, took a similar approach toward Russia in January by threatening unspecified sanctions, but this failed to dissuade Russian President Vladimir Putin from launching his invasion of Ukraine.
The non-US official said the White House is focused on getting countries to come to terms with themselves, including coordination between Europe and Asia, and avoid provoking Beijing.
Reuters was unable to find out details about the specific sanctions that were being considered, but some analysts have indicated that the Chinese military may be the focus.
“Big picture, the initial sanctions talks will likely revolve around restricting China’s access to certain technologies needed to continue a military operation against Taiwan,” said Craig Singleton of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
The White House declined to comment.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it discussed China’s recent war games and “major challenges” that China poses to Taiwan and the region with the United States, Europe and other like-minded partners, but could not reveal details.
Taiwan Stadium for Europe
Six sources familiar with discussions between Taiwan and Europe told Reuters that Taiwan had already raised sanctions with European officials after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but recent Chinese military exercises hardened Taiwan’s position.
Calls by senior Taiwanese officials to prepare for sanctions have intensified in recent weeks. The latest Chinese white paper, which withdrew a pledge not to send troops or administrators to Taiwan if Beijing took control of the island, prompted them to redouble their efforts with Europe. Read more
A source familiar with the discussions said Taiwan did not ask for anything specific, but only that Europe was planning what actions it might take if it attacked China, and asked Europe to privately warn China that it would face consequences.
Another person familiar with the matter said EU officials are so far shying away from imposing tough sanctions on China over human rights issues, with the country playing a much larger role in the bloc’s economy than Russia.
European sanctions require the approval of all 27 member states, which is often out of reach; Consensus was difficult even to isolate Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, in part because its gas was crucial to Germany.
Sources say all of Europe, with the exception of the Vatican, has formal diplomatic relations with Beijing but not Taipei, although Taiwanese and European officials have had extensive private contacts since the start of Chinese military exercises.
Another official familiar with the debate said Germany, the bloc’s economic engine, was “cautious”. “I don’t think Russia and Ukraine have fundamentally changed the way they view their relationship with China.”
But there is growing concern in the German government about its economic dependence on China, with the economy minister vowing new trade policy and “no more naivety” on Tuesday. Read more
A spokesman for German Chancellor Olaf Schulz declined to comment.
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Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee in Taipei, John O’Donnell in Frankfurt, Alexandra Alper and Trevor Honeycutt in Washington; Additional reporting by Michael Martina and David Bronstrom in Washington. Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Clarence Fernandez
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