Shortly after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached Taiwan – the first top American official in 25 years to do so, the Chinese government announced on Wednesday, 3 August, that it was halting exports of natural sand to Taiwan and announced a slew of punitive measures.
The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, a Chinese official body that looks after Taiwan affairs, announced that China will suspend the entry of citrus fruits and two types of fish products from the Taiwan region starting Wednesday.
The entry of citrus fruits including grapefruits, lemons, and oranges, as well as chilled large head hair tail and frozen horse mackerel from Taiwan will be suspended over alleged "repeated" detection of excessive pesticide residue and positive coronavirus tests on packages, Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson of the council said.
The the export of natural sand from the mainland to Taiwan will also be suspended. The nation also announced punitive measures on organisations related to die-hard elements seeking "Taiwan independence."
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory and opposes any engagement by Taiwanese officials with foreign governments, had announced a series of military exercises around the self-ruled island on Tuesday night after Pelosi landed in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.
The US House Speaker's visit came in defiance of China's warning against visiting Taiwan. Her visit was labelled by China as a "serious violation" of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three joint communiques signed between Beijing and Washington.
Economic Sanctions on Taiwanese Companies
In view of Pelosi's visit, China on Tuesday also halted imports of products from various Taiwanese food companies, Focus Taiwan reported, citing Taiwan's Council of Agriculture (COA).
Some of these companies are producers of tea leaves, cocoa beans, honey, etc, the COA confirmed.
Many other Taiwanese companies, who have their registration status up to date, are also affected by the ban, news agency ANI reported citing data from China's General Administration of Customs.
China also slammed the "extremely dangerous" actions of the US in Taiwan, according to AFP.
"The Chinese People's Liberation Army is on high alert and will launch a series of targeted military operations to counter this, resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely thwart external interference and 'Taiwan independence' separatist attempts," Chinese Defence Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said.
China's Warning to British MPs
China’s UK ambassador Zheng Zeguang has also urged British politicians not to “dance to the tune of the United States” and vowed “severe consequences” should MPs set foot in Taiwan, reported The Guardian.
Meanwhile, Zeguang said that British politicians' statements to 'defend Taiwan' and their visit to the island would be a “serious violation of the one-China principle and the (Sino-UK) joint communique.”
“It is… interference in China’s internal affairs that will inevitably lead to severe consequences in China-UK relations… We call on the UK side to abide by its own commitment… and not to underestimate the extreme sensitivity of the Taiwan issue, and not to follow the US’ footsteps,” he said.
Britain’s House of Commons foreign affairs committee is planning a visit to Taiwan probably in November or early December this year, The Guardian reported.
(With inputs from ANI, AFP, The Guardian and CGTN news.)