January 19, 2021 12:17:07 pm
China said it “has already decided” to sanction some U.S. officials over involvement in Taiwan issues, as the Trump administration prepares to hand over to President-elect Joe Biden.
“Based on the wrongful actions of the U.S. side, China has already decided to impose sanctions on U.S. officials who behave egregiously on Taiwan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily briefing in Beijing on Monday, without elaborating. It wasn’t immediately clear whether she was referring to an action already taken. She didn’t say which officials were being targeted.
Hua was responding to a question about a recent U.S. move to lift decades-old restrictions on how its diplomats and other officials interact with Taiwan. China considers democratic Taiwan part of its territory, and the island has been a key source of tension as relations have worsened between Washington and Beijing.
China in October imposed unspecified sanctions on Boeing Co.’s defense unit, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Technologies Corp. — as well as individuals from the U.S. who “behaved maliciously” in selling arms to Taiwan — after the U.S. State Department approved $1.8 billion in arms sales to Taiwan.
A proposed trip to Taiwan earlier this month by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft had drawn opposition from China, before being canceled in the wake of riots at the U.S. Capitol.
The Chinese declaration of sanctions on U.S. defense companies last year has had little impact so far, according to Rupert Hammond-Chambers, President of the Arlington-based U.S.-Taiwan Business Council.
“The Chinese have done nothing on this,” he said in a message on Monday. “No sanctions. It’s all been bluster and rhetoric.”
Hua also said that “based on the wrongful actions of the U.S. side, China has already decided to impose sanctions on U.S. officials, congress people and NGO personnel as well as direct family members” for their involvement over recent U.S. moves in Hong Kong, without elaborating further.
Her comments came after a decision by the U.S. on Friday to sanction six officials from the city and China, a move that Hong Kong’s government called “insane, shameless and despicable.” Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced that the U.S. would sanction the officials as part of President Donald Trump’s executive order on Hong Kong normalization. It’s the latest move by Washington to punish Beijing after it imposed a controversial national security law in the former British colony last June.
The U.S. and China last year imposed tit-for-tat sanctions on each other amid clashes on fronts ranging from trade to the early handling of the coronavirus. The U.S.’s sanctions have included those on top officials involved in China’s clampdown on Hong Kong, including the city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
China, meanwhile, has sanctioned officials including Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, a mostly symbolic effort to retaliate over U.S. moves to punish Beijing for its treatment of minorities in the far west region of Xinjiang.
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