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China Retaliates Against Taiwan After Nancy Pelosi Departs

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


China wasted no time in punishing Taiwan for allowing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to visit the island democracy earlier this week.

A day after Pelosi departed, the Chinese government imposed a raft of economic sanctions on Taiwan, according to official sources.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced that the country is halting exports of natural sand to Taiwan, which is a critical component of the island’s massive semiconductor industry.

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In addition, the news report stated, that Beijing will stop importing citrus fruits from Taiwan including grapefruits, lemons, and oranges, along with fish products, citing China’s Taiwan Affairs Office.

Regarding the fruit imports, Chinese officials blamed “excessive pesticide residues” and the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak as reasons for the ban, CNN added.

“Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has triggered the expected ire of Chinese authorities,” said ING Group analysts.

CNN adds: “China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade worth $273 billion last year, accounting for 33% of the island’s total trade with the rest of the world, according to the Taiwanese government.”

However, the biggest concern, globally, is the effect China’s sanctions will have on Taiwan’s semiconductor industry; Taiwan is currently the largest manufacturer of the components which, critically, power all modern technology from the defense sector to domestic goods and services.

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That said, CNN reports further:

In response, Taiwan officials said China’s sand export suspension would have a “limited” effect and that Chinese sand accounts for “less than one percent” of its total demand.

China has previously banned imports of some Taiwanese products amid escalating tensions. Last year, China banned imports of pineapples from the island followed by some types of apples later in the year citing “pest control.” Earlier this year, it also banned Taiwanese grouper fish, a high-value seafood product from Taiwan, citing the detection of some banned drugs.

Prior to Pelosi’s visit — which was opposed by the Biden administration buck, ironically enough, backed by many Republicans — official Chinese sources issued bellicose warnings and threats.

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A commentator for the Chinese government-controlled state media “Global Times” threatened that China could shoot Pelosi’s plane out of the sky when before she touched down in Taiwan.

“If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is an invasion. The PLA has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction. If ineffective, then shoot them down,” Hu Xijin said in a tweet that has since been taken down for violating the platform’s rules.

According to a separate CNN report last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping also issued a stern warning to President Joe Biden over the visit.

“Public opinion shall not be violated, and if you play with fire you get burned. I hope the US side can see this clearly,” Xi reportedly told Biden.

As it became clear that Pelosi would visit, however, China launched “live-fire exercises” close to the Pingtan islands off Fujian province, Xinhua News Agency reported.

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Ships were warned to avoid the area by the Maritime Safety Administration, The Daily Mail added:

Such exercises usually involve artillery. The one-sentence announcement gave no indication whether Saturday’s exercise also might include missiles, fighter planes or other weapons.

Two other vessels – identified by Vietnam-based maritime observer Duan Dang as a Chinese Type 052D destroyer and a Type 054A frigate – were seen 27km and 23km away from the Taiwan Strait. Both are armed with surface-to-air missiles.

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Meanwhile, the Chinese navy was conducting military exercises off its southern coast near Guangdong, following exercises in nearby Hainan province. 

Taiwan was also hit by a cyberattack, according to reports, as Chinese warplanes flew near the island’s boundary in the Taiwan Strait.

“Taiwanese authorities confirmed Tuesday that the Office of the President’s website fell victim to an overseas cyberattack that caused the site to be down for 20 minutes, according to local reporters. The president’s office reportedly confirmed that Tuesday’s attack traffic was 200 times that of a normal day,” Fox News reported.

“The culprit behind the attack has not yet been revealed but came just hours before Chinese warplanes flew close to the unofficial dividing line that separates the Taiwan Strait between mainland China and Taiwan.

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