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China Sets Sanctions on Taiwan Figures 08/16 06:09

   

   BEIJING (AP) -- China imposed visa bans and other sanctions Tuesday on 
Taiwanese political figures as it raises pressure on the self-governing island 
and the U.S. in response to successive congressional visits.

   The sanctions come a day after China announced more military exercises in 
the seas and skies surrounding Taiwan because of what it called "collusion and 
provocation between the U.S. and Taiwan." There's been no word on the timing 
and scale of the Chinese exercises.

   They were announced the same day a U.S. congressional delegation met with 
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, and after a similar visit by U.S. House 
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-level member of the U.S. government to visit 
Taiwan in 25 years. The Chinese government objects to Taiwan having any 
official contact with foreign governments because it considers Taiwan its own 
territory, and its recent saber rattling has emphasized its threat to take the 
island by military force.

   Pelosi's visit was followed by nearly two weeks of threatening Chinese 
military exercises that included the firing of missiles over the island and 
incursions by navy ships and warplanes across the midline of the Taiwan Strait 
that has long been a buffer between the sides.

   In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters 
that China had overreacted with its "provocative and totally unnecessary 
response to the congressional delegation that visited Taiwan earlier this 
month."

   The targets of China's latest sanctions include Taiwan's de facto ambassador 
to the U.S., Bi-khim Hsiao, and legislators Ker Chien-ming, Koo Li-hsiung, Tsai 
Chi-chang, Chen Jiau-hua and Wang Ting-yu, along with activist Lin Fei-fan.

   They will be barred from traveling to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao, 
and from having any financial or personal connections with people and entities 
on the mainland, according to the ruling Communist Party's Taiwan Work Office.

   The measures were designed to "resolutely punish" those considered "diehard 
elements" supporting Taiwan's independence, China's official Xinhua News Agency 
said.

   Premier Su Tseng-chang, leader of the legislature You Si-kun and Foreign 
Minister Joseph Wu were already on China's sanctions list and will face more 
restrictions, Xinhua said.

   China exercises no legal authority over Taiwan and it's unclear what effect 
the sanctions would have. China has refused all contact with Taiwan's 
government since shortly after the 2016 election of Tsai, who was 
overwhelmingly reelected in 2020.

   Taiwan's Foreign Ministry tweeted its appreciation for the most recent 
congressional visit, adding that "Authoritarian #China can't dictate how 
democratic #Taiwan makes friends, wins support, stays resilient & shines like a 
beacon of freedom."

   Tsai's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party also controls the 
legislature, and the vast majority of Taiwanese favor maintaining the status 
quo of de facto independence amid strong economic and social connections 
between the sides.

   China accuses the U.S. of encouraging the island's independence through the 
sale of weapons and engagement between U.S. politicians and the island's 
government. Washington says it does not support independence, has no formal 
diplomatic ties with the island and maintains that the two sides should settle 
their dispute peacefully -- but it is legally bound to ensure the island can 
defend itself against any attack.

   Taiwan has put its military on alert, but has taken no major countermeasures 
against the Chinese actions. That has been reflected in overriding calm and 
widespread ambivalence among the public, who have lived under threat of Chinese 
attack for more than seven decades.

   Taiwan's Defense Ministry announced air force and ground-to-air missile 
drills would be held later in the week.

 
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