China has reacted strongly to the visit to Taiwan of the president of the United States Congress, Nancy Pelosi, but the fact that it is waiting for the departure of the Democrat to start the main military exercises in response suggests that Beijing wants to avoid an uncontrolled escalation. of the crisis.
These are military exercises with live fire in six areas around Taiwan that China announced when Pelosi landed in Taipei on Tuesday and that in principle will begin on Thursday, when the American, who has left the island on Wednesday, is in South Korea. . The exercises will conclude on Sunday.
“Beijing is trying to show that disobeying its orders has a cost, but it seems not to want an uncontrolled escalation of the crisis,” Ja-Ian Chong, a political analyst at the National University of Singapore, tells Efe.
“They could have decided to start their main military exercises immediately, but they have decided to do it when Pelosi leaves,” he adds.
The military exercises will take place in six areas around the island, including the eastern part, evoking the 1995-1996 crisis, the last time Beijing fired missiles into the Taiwan Strait, which it considers its “rebellious province”, without rule out an invasion in the future.
But these were not the only responses from Beijing to Taipei. Economic sanctions also came. This is what they consist of.
Chinese sanctions on Taiwan
In addition to showing off military muscle, China has responded to Pelosi’s visit by banning the import of products from more than a hundred exporters on the island.
Among the products suspended are certain types of fish and citrus fruits, which grow mostly in the south of the island, a traditional stronghold of support for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, the Singaporean newspaper The Straits Times reported on Wednesday.
“Since last year, quarantine-sensitive pests have been repeatedly detected in citrus from Taiwan,” says a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, which also ensures that traces of Sars-CoV-2 have been found in soybean sprout containers. frozen.
Last year, Beijing also canceled the import of pineapples from that territory.
On Tuesday, before Pelosi’s visit was confirmed, China also banned the import of hundreds of food and agricultural products from the territory, saying they violated “important regulations” on business registration.
Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture confirmed that the ban affected companies producing tea, nuts, honey, coffee and cocoa beans, condiments, sweets and vegetables, as well as catches from some 700 fishing boats.
The Beijing Ministry of Commerce also announced economic sanctions, including the suspension of the export to Taiwan of natural sand, a key component in the manufacture of semiconductors, one of the main exports of the island.
In turn, Taiwan has suffered several cyberattacks since Tuesday, including the digital services of the office of the presidency and the website of the Foreign Ministry.
Do they affect other countries?
Although China and Taiwan do not maintain commercial relations, they do maintain an important commercial exchange. Taiwan-made processor chips are key to Chinese companies, which are needed by the Chinese factories that assemble the world’s smartphones and other electronics.
Last year, bilateral trade soared 26% to $328.3 billion.
“[Taiwanese] companies are such an integral part of the Chinese value chain that it’s hard to put too much pressure on those trade routes,” Zennon Kapron, director of financial sector research firm Kapronasia, told the South China Morning Post . headquarters in Singapore.
Tao Jingzhou, an international arbitration expert with experience in Beijing, Hong Kong and London, considered any unilateral sanctions to be “double-edged”, also taking into account that Washington could retaliate if its economy is affected.
“Sanctioning Taiwan is like moving a stone and letting it fall on its own foot, as well as deepening the divisions between the two sides,” Hong Hao, an author and independent China economist, told the SCMP.
China and Taiwan have been separated in fact since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s communist troops defeated the nationalists, who took refuge on the island.
The United States recognized the Beijing government as China’s representative in 1979, although it continued to provide military support to Taiwan.
The “reunification” of China is a priority goal for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who last week formally told Biden over the phone to avoid “playing with fire.”
With information from AFP and EFE