China sanctions senior US congressman for his Taiwan trip
Beijing, Apr 13 (EFE).- China Thursday announced sanctions against Michael McCaul, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee head, in response to his visit to Taiwan last week.
The sanctions by the Chinese Foreign Ministry include a travel ban and freezing assets that he may have in China.
A foreign ministry statement said McCaul’s April 6-9 visit “seriously violated China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and sent a serious wrong signal to Taiwan independence separatist forces.”
During his stay in Taipei, McCaul told Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen that US lawmakers were “doing everything possible to speed up arms sales” to the self-ruled island.
McCaul traveled to Taipei on an official US plane. Taiwanese Vice Foreign Minister Alexander Yu received him.
He said his stay meant to convey a message to the ruling Communist Party of China (CCP) “that the United States stands with Taiwan.”
“When we project strength, we get peace. If we project weakness, we invite aggression and war,” he said.
The congressman said the US wanted to do “everything in our power to stand with Taiwan and to project strength to China by delivering arms sales to Taiwan and holding joint training exercises.”
His meeting with Tsai coincided with the beginning of the military exercises that China organized in response to Tsai’s stopover in the US on her way to a Central American trip.
Tsai met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles during her short stay in the US.
China condemned Tsai’s stay and activities in the US.
Beijing accuses Washington of colliding with Taiwan.
Taiwan is one of the top sources of tension between China and the US, mainly because Washington is Taipei’s key arms supplier and could be its greatest military ally in the event of a war with China.
China considers the self-ruled island part of its territory.
Beijing says it reserves the right to use force to reunify Taiwan, even as a peaceful merger would be its first choice.
The island was the refuge of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) forces after losing the civil war with the Communists, who, since then, have claimed sovereignty over the territory.
In 1979, Washington broke diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing. However, the American Institute in Taiwan operates as a de facto embassy in Taipei. EFE