EXCLUSIVE US weighs China sanctions to deter Taiwan action, Taiwan pressures EU

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TAIPEI/FRANKFURT/WASHINGTON, Sept 13 (Reuters) – The United States is considering options for a sanctions package against China to deter it from invading Taiwan, and the European Union is under diplomatic pressure from Taipei to do the same, according to sources familiar with the matter. with the discussions.

The sources said deliberations in Washington and separate lobbying of EU envoys by Taipei were at an early stage, a response to fears of a Chinese invasion that have grown as military tensions across the strait rise. from Taiwan.

In both cases, the idea is to push the sanctions beyond measures already taken in the West to restrict some trade and investment with China in sensitive technologies such as computer chips and telecommunications equipment. read more

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The sources did not provide details of what is being considered, but the notion of sanctions on the world’s second-largest economy and one of the largest links in the global supply chain raises questions about its feasibility.

“The possible imposition of sanctions on China is a much more complex exercise than sanctions on Russia, given the extensive entanglement of the United States and its allies with the Chinese economy,” said Nazak Nikakhtar, a former senior official at the US Department of Commerce. .

China’s commercial influence

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and last month fired missiles at the island and sailed warships across its unofficial sea border after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei. in what Beijing saw as a provocation. read more

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to bring Taiwan under Beijing’s control and has not ruled out the use of force. He is set to secure a third five-year leadership term at a Communist Party congress next month. The Taiwanese government strongly rejects China’s sovereignty claims.

In response to news about the sanctions package, a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing warned against underestimating China.

“I want to emphasize that any country or person should not underestimate the strong determination and unwavering will of the Chinese government and people in upholding national sovereignty, territorial integrity and realizing the reunification of the motherland,” said the spokesman, Mao Ning, on Wednesday.

Officials in Washington are considering options for a possible sanctions package against China to deter Xi from trying to invade Taiwan, said a US official and an official from a country in close coordination with Washington.

US sanctions talks began after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, but took on a new urgency after China’s reaction to Pelosi’s visit, the two sources said.

The United States, backed by NATO allies, took a similar approach to Russia in January with the threat of unspecified sanctions, but this failed to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from launching his invasion of Ukraine.

The White House is focused on getting countries on the same page, including coordination between Europe and Asia, and avoiding provoking Beijing, the non-US official said.

Reuters was unable to obtain details on what specific sanctions were being considered, but some analysts suggested China’s military could be the focus.

“Overall, the initial sanctions talk will likely revolve around restricting China’s access to certain technologies needed to sustain a military operation against Taiwan,” said Craig Singleton of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The White House declined to comment.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it had discussed China’s recent war games and the “major challenges” China poses for Taiwan and the region with the United States, Europe and other like-minded partners, but could not reveal details.

THE LAUNCH OF TAIWAN TO EUROPE

Taiwan had already discussed sanctions with European officials after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but China’s recent military exercises have hardened Taiwan’s position, six sources briefed on discussions between Taiwan and Europe told Reuters.

Calls from senior Taiwanese officials to prepare sanctions have intensified in recent weeks. A recent Chinese white paper, which withdrew a promise not to send troops or administrators to Taiwan if Beijing takes control of the island, has led to redoubled efforts with Europe. read more

Taiwan has not asked for anything specific, just that Europe plan what actions it can take if China attacks, a source briefed on the discussions said, asking Europe to privately warn China that it will face consequences.

EU officials have so far refused to impose harsh sanctions on China over human rights issues, as the country plays a much larger role in the bloc’s economy than Russia, another person familiar with the matter said.

European sanctions would require all 27 member countries to agree, which is often difficult to achieve; Consensus was difficult even to isolate Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, in part because its gas was critical to Germany.

All of Europe except the Vatican has formal diplomatic relations with Beijing but not with Taipei, although Taiwanese and European officials have had extensive private contacts since China’s military exercises began, the sources say.

Germany, the bloc’s economic engine, is “cautious,” according to another official familiar with the discussion. “I don’t think Russia-Ukraine has fundamentally changed the way they view their relationship with China.”

But there is growing concern in the German government about its economic dependence on China, with the economy minister promising a new trade policy and “no more naivete” on Tuesday. read more

A spokesman for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declined to comment.

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Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee in Taipei, John O’Donnell in Frankfurt, and Alexandra Alper and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington; Additional reporting by Michael Martina and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Edited by Rosalba O’Brien and Clarence Fernandez

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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