US considers sanctions on China to prevent invasion of Taiwan

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The United States is considering options for a package of sanctions against China to stop it from invading Taiwan, with the European Union (EU) under diplomatic pressure from Taipei to do the same, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

The sources said the deliberations in Washington and Taipei’s separate lobby against EU envoys were both at an early stage — a response to fears of a Chinese invasion that have grown as military tensions mount across the Taiwan Strait.

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In both cases, the idea is to apply sanctions in addition to the measures already taken in the Western to restrict some trade and investment with China in sensitive technologies such as computer chips and telecommunications equipment.

The sources did not provide details on what is being considered, but the notion of sanctions on the world’s second-largest economy and one of the biggest links in the global supply chain raises questions of feasibility.

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“The possible imposition of sanctions on China is a much more complex exercise than sanctions on Russia, given the extensive involvement of the US and allies in the Chinese economy,” said Nazak Nikakhtar, a former senior official at the US Department of Commerce.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and last month it fired missiles over the island and sailed warships across its unofficial maritime border after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei — in what Beijing saw as a provocation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to reunify democratically-ruled Taiwan with the mainland and has not ruled out the use of force. He is expected to secure a third five-year leadership term at a Communist Party congress next month.

In Washington, officials are considering options for a possible package of sanctions against China to stop Xi from trying to invade Taiwan, a US official and a country official in close coordination with Washington said.

U.S. sanctions talks began after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, but have gained new urgency after China’s reaction to Pelosi’s visit, the two sources said.

The United States, backed by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, took a similar approach to Russia in January with a threat of unspecified sanctions, but that failed to dissuade Russian President Vladimir Putin from launching his invasion of Ukraine. .

The White House is focused on getting countries on the same page, including coordinating Europe and Asia, and avoiding provoking Beijing, the non-US official said.

The White House declined to comment.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said it had discussed China’s recent war games and the “major challenges” China poses to Taiwan and the region with the United States, Europe and other like-minded partners, but could not release details. .

China’s Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Taiwan had previously addressed sanctions with European officials following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but recent Chinese military exercises have seen Taiwan’s stance hardened, six sources briefed on the Taiwan-Europe discussions told Reuters.

Calls from Taiwanese officials for sanctions preparations have intensified in recent weeks. A recent Chinese briefing document, which withdrew its promise not to send troops or administrators to Taiwan if Beijing takes control of the island, led to a redoubled effort with Europe.

Taiwan did not ask for anything specific, just for Europe to plan what actions it can take if China attacks, a source familiar with the discussions said, and urged Europe to warn China privately that it will face consequences.

EU officials have so far avoided imposing tough sanctions on China over human rights concerns, as the country plays a much bigger role in the bloc’s economy than Russia, another person familiar with the matter said.

European sanctions would require all 27 member countries to agree, which is often elusive; consensus was difficult even in isolating Russia after the Ukraine invasion, in part because its gas was critical to Germany.

All of Europe, excluding the Vatican, has formal diplomatic relations with Beijing, but not Taipei, although Taiwanese and European officials have had extensive private contacts since China’s military exercises began, the sources say.

Germany, the bloc’s economic engine, is “cautious,” according to another official familiar with the discussion. “I don’t think Russia-Ukraine has fundamentally changed the way they view their relationship with China.”

But there is growing concern in the German government over its economic dependence on China, with the economy minister promising a new trade policy and “no more naivete” on Tuesday.

A spokesman for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declined to comment.

Source: CNN Brasil

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