China on Wednesday (Aug 3) continued to voice its anger at US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, calling the move “dangerous and stupid” as it announced new economic measures and other sanctions against the island.
“The United States should not fantasise about distorting facts at will. The US side claimed that China is escalating the situation, but the basic facts are that the US first provoked China on the Taiwan question and blatantly violated China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a statement released from Phnom Penh where he is attending the ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
“The introduction of the Taiwan question into the regional strategy by the US, which inflates tensions and stokes confrontation, is against the trend of regional development and goes against the expectations of people in the Asia-Pacific,” he added.
“This is very dangerous and stupid.”
Later, speaking on the sidelines of the ASEAN meeting, Wang said Pelosi’s visit is a “complete farce”.
“Under the guise of so-called ‘democracy’, the United States is violating China’s sovereignty,” he said. “Those who play with fire will come to no good end, those who infringe on China’s rights will definitely be punished.”
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that needs to be retaken, by force if necessary.
The Taiwan Work Office of China’s main party political body also called for the punishment of what it said were “die-hard” supporters of Taiwanese independence and vowed legal penalties.
“We will take criminal punishment measures against those die-hard ‘Taiwan independence’ elements who deliberately challenge the law, punish them strictly in accordance with the law, and hold them accountable throughout their lifetime,” the office said in a statement, adding that “no country or force” should underestimate China’s resolve.
Beijing on Wednesday banned import of citrus fruit and certain types of fish from Taiwan, further tightening the economic screws on the island.
On Monday, it barred items from over 100 Taiwanese exporters citing outdated paperwork, adding to an existing ban on pineapple, sugar apple (also known as custard apple), grouper fish and wax.
The fruit-growing region south of the island is traditionally a bastion of support for Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen.
China’s Commerce Ministry also said it would be banning the export of natural sand to Taiwan.
The island imported 5.67 million tonnes of sand and gravel in 2020, with natural sand constituting about 8 percent of total, according to a report from Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs.
More than 90 percent of Taiwan’s imported sand and gravel is from China, due to much higher transportation costs from other countries such as Vietnam, the report said.
Meanwhile, the Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s Cabinet announced sanctions against what it said were elements supporting Taiwanese independence, including the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund.
China will take disciplinary actions against the two foundations, banning them from financially cooperating with Chinese companies and individuals, the office’s spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said on Wednesday.
Shortly after the US delegation landed in Taipei on Tuesday night, the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Eastern Theatre Command said military drills, including “long-range live firing in the Taiwan Strait” and “regular-guided fire testing in the eastern waters” off Taiwan, were being planned from Tuesday evening.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES