Will sanction Pelosi over Taiwan visit: China's warning to US
China will be sanctioning United States (US) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her visit to Taiwan this week, the Foreign Ministry announced on Friday. This comes days after Pelosi's pit stop in Taipei as part of Asia tour. An angry China since then has undertaken military drills near Taiwan to respond to US's 'provocation'. "China has chosen to overreact," US officials said on Friday.
Why does this story matter?
While Taiwan remains self-ruled, China claims the island as its own under the 'One China' policy. Standing in solidarity with Taiwan's "independence," the third highest-ranking US official Pelosi visited the island nation this week, leading to Chinese furore. The US's commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with military support to defend itself is also viewed as an affront to China.
Chinese foreign ministry announces sanctions
According to Global Times, the unofficial mouthpiece of the Xi Jinping government, China will sanction Pelosi and her immediate family members "because she disregarded China's serious concern" to her visit. "The visit interferes with China's internal affairs, undermines Chinese sovereignty...tramples on the one-China principle," the statement read. However, the government did not reveal the nature of these sanctions, which reportedly might only be symbolic.
Overreaction, says US government
Meanwhile, the US government retaliated against China by calling its military drills an "overreaction." US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that China's military drills aimed at Taiwan represent a "significant escalation." "China has chosen to overreact and use Pelosi's visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activities in and around the Taiwan Strait," Blinked said, as per Reuters.
Beijing has announced sanctions on US officials previously often without specific punitive measures. A few months ago, China said that it is imposing visa restrictions on a few US officials for allegedly "concocting lies on humans rights issues in China." Mike Pompeo, former US Secretary has also been sanctioned and is not permitted to enter China or do business with Chinese entities.
PLA fires up missiles near Taiwan
China stepped up to show its military prowess only hours after Pelosi left the island nation by firing ballistic missiles and deploying fighter jets around Taiwan. The drills, scheduled to go on till Sunday, were even conducted on islands just 20 km away from Taiwan. Speaker Pelosi alleged that Beijing was using her visit as an "excuse" to conduct military drills.
Economic backlash to Taiwan
China imposed severe sanctions on the import of fruits and seafood from Taiwan and halted sand supplies to the island on Wednesday following Pelosi's visit, which has sparked a diplomatic row among the countries. Notably, it's the first visit of any elected representative of the US to Taiwan in the last 25 years. China may also halt the shipment of natural sand to Taiwan.