EXCLUSIVE US weighs China’s sanctions to discourage Taiwan’s action, Taiwan presses the EU

TAIPEI / FRANKFURT / WASHINGTON, Sep 13 (Reuters) – The United States is considering options for a sanctions package against China to dissuade it from invading Taiwan, with the European Union coming under diplomatic pressure from Taipei to do the same , according to sources familiar with the discussions.

The sources said the separate Washington and Taipei lobbying deliberations on EU envoys were both in an early stage, a response to fears of a Chinese invasion that have grown as military tensions escalate in the Taiwan Strait.

In both cases, the idea is to take sanctions beyond measures already taken in the West to limit some trade and investment with China in sensitive technologies such as computer chips and telecommunications equipment. Read more

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The sources have not provided any details of what is being considered, but the notion of sanctions on the second largest economy in the world and one of the largest links in the global supply chain raises questions of feasibility.

“The potential imposition of sanctions on China is a far more complex exercise than sanctions on Russia, given the vast involvement of the United States and allies in the Chinese economy,” said Nazak Nikakhtar, a former senior official with the US Department of Commerce. United States.

The commercial power of China

China claims Taiwan as its territory and last month launched missiles on the island and sailed warships across their unofficial sea border after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in what Beijing did. seen as a provocation. Read more

Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised to bring Taiwan under the democratic government under the control of Beijing and has not ruled out the use of force. Next month he will secure a third five-year term at the helm of a Communist Party congress. The Taiwanese government firmly rejects China’s claims of sovereignty.

In response to the news about the sanctions package, a spokesman for the foreign ministry in Beijing warned against underestimating China.

“I want to emphasize that any country or person should not underestimate the strong determination and firm will of the Chinese government and people to defend national sovereignty, territorial integrity and bring about the reunification of the motherland,” said the spokesman, Mao Ning. Wednesday.

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

US sanctions talks began after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, but took on new urgency following China’s reaction to Pelosi’s visit, the two sources said.

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

The White House focuses on bringing countries on the same line, including coordination between Europe and Asia and avoiding provoking Beijing, the non-US official said.

Reuters was unable to learn the details of what specific sanctions were under consideration, but some analysts have suggested that the Chinese military may be the center of attention.

“The big picture, the initial sanctions conversations will likely be about restricting China’s access to certain technologies needed to support 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 the “big challenges” China poses to Taiwan and the region with the US, Europe and other like-minded partners , but could not disclose the details.


Taiwan had already opened sanctions with European officials after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but recent Chinese military exercises have seen Taiwan’s position strengthen, six sources informed of the Taiwan-Europe discussions told Reuters.

In recent weeks, the demands of top Taiwanese officials for sanctions preparations have intensified. A recent Chinese White Paper, which withdrew the promise not to send troops or administrators to Taiwan if Beijing takes control of the island, prompted them to redouble their efforts with Europe. Read more

Taiwan did not ask for anything specific, only that Europe plan what actions it could take if China attacked, a source informed about the discussions said, and asked Europe to privately warn China that it would have consequences.

EU officials have so far avoided imposing severe sanctions on China over human rights issues, as the country plays a far more important role in the bloc’s economy than Russia, said another person familiar with. the question.

European sanctions would require the agreement of all 27 member countries, which is often elusive; consensus was also difficult in isolating Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, in part because her 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 the Chinese military exercises began, the sources say.

Germany, the economic engine of the bloc, is “wary”, according to another official who knows the discussion. “I don’t think Russia-Ukraine has fundamentally changed the way they view their relations with China.”

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

A spokesperson for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declined to comment.

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Reports by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee in Taipei, John O’Donnell in Frankfurt and Alexandra Alper and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington; Additional reports by Michael Martina and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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