China sanctions Taiwan’s representative in US after Tsai visit

Beijing, Apr 7 (EFE).- Beijing has announced new sanctions on Taiwan’s representative in the United States, Hsiao Bi-khim, state media said Friday, a day after President Tsai Ing-wen met with US lawmakers in Los Angeles.

The sanctions ban Hsiao and her family from entering the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macau, and also ban her funding sources or related companies from cooperating with Chinese individuals or organizations.

“Wow, the PRC just sanctioned me again, for the second time,” she tweeted on Friday morning.

The measures were announced by Beijing’s Taiwan Work Office of the Central Committee, the highest body in the Asian country for issues related to the self-governing island, Xinhua reported.

The sanctions are one of China’s first responses to Tsai’s appointments in the US, where she met with House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy and a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

A spokesperson for the Office claimed that Hsiao had looked for US support for Taiwan’s independence in order to intentionally provoke confrontations across the Taiwan Strait and undermine cross-Strait peace and stability.

“No individual or force should underestimate our strong resolve, will and ability to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the unnamed spokesperson said.

Hsiao was already sanctioned in similar terms last August along with Taiwan officials such as the Vice President of the Legislative Yuan, Tsai Chi-chang, and other members of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

In addition, the mainland’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Friday announced sanctions against the Prospect Foundation and the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats.

The department’s spokeswoman, Zhu Fenglian, claimed that these organizations used the pretext of democracy, freedom and cooperation “under the guise of academic and research exchanges” to promote Taiwan’s independence.

The heads of the organizations will be banned from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

China on Thursday condemned the activities of Tsai in the US, a country it accused of “collusion” with Taiwan, adding that it will “take resolute and effective measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

However, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said there was no reason for Beijing to “overreact” to the meeting, insisting that Tsai’s visit was a transit during her trip to Central America.

Last August, a visit to Taiwan by the then-speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, enraged Beijing, which imposed sanctions on Pelosi, suspended dialogue with the US in several important areas and carried out military drills in the Taiwan Strait of an intensity not seen in decades.

The island is one of the biggest sources of conflict between China and the US, mainly because Washington is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and would be its biggest military ally in the event of a war with China.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, which it views as a rogue province since Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949 after losing the civil war to the communist army. EFE


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