US considers China sanctions to avert Taiwan invasion – Nexus News

The United States is taking into view options for a sanctions package against China to prevent it from invading Taiwan, with the European Union coming under diplomatic pressure from Taipei to do the same, according to sources familiar with the debate.

The sources stated that the deliberations in Washington and Taipei’s separate lobbying of EU envoys were both at an early stage a reaction to fears of a Chinese invasion which have heightened as military tensions escalate in the Taiwan Strait.

In both scenarios, the idea is to adopt sanctions beyond measures already taken in the West to ban some trade and investment with China in sensitive technologies like computer chips and telecoms equipment.

The sources did not give details of what is being debated, but the notion of sanctions on the world’s second-largest economy and one of the global supply chain’s biggest links raises questions of possibility.

“The potential imposition of sanctions on China is a far more complex exercise than sanctions on Russia, given US and allies’ extensive entanglement with the Chinese economy,” said Nazak Nikakhtar, a former senior US Commerce Department official.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and last month shot missiles over the island and sailed warships across their unofficial sea frontier after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in what Beijing saw as a provocation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to bring self-ruled 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. Taiwan’s government strongly denied China’s sovereignty claims.

In Washington, officials are weighing options for a possible package of sanctions against China to prevent Xi from attempting to claim Taiwan, said a US official and an official from a country in close coordination with Washington.

US debates over sanctions commenced after Russia invaded Ukraine in February but took on new urgency after the Chinese reaction to Pelosi’s visit, the two sources stated.

The US, supported by NATO allies, took a likely approach to Russia in January with a 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 coordinating between Europe and Asia, and avoiding provoking Beijing, the non-US official stated.

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

“Big picture, initial sanctions conversations will likely revolve around curtailing China’s access to certain technologies required to sustain a military operation against Taiwan,” said Craig Singleton at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The White House refused to comment

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry stated that it had discussed China’s recent war games and the “great challenges” China poses to Taiwan and the region with the US, Europe and other like-minded partners, but could not reveal details.

China’s Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

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Taiwan’s pitch to Europe

Taiwan had already discussed sanctions with European officials after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but China’s recent military operations have seen Taiwan’s position harden, six sources briefed on the Taiwan-Europe discussions informed Reuters.

Top Taiwanese officials’ requests for sanctions preparations have intensified in recent weeks. A recent Chinese white paper, which retracted a promise not to send troops or administrators to Taiwan if Beijing takes over the island, has prompted a redoubling of their efforts with Europe.

Taiwan has not requested anything specific, only for Europe to decide what actions it may take if China is invaded, one source briefed on discussions stated, and has asked Europe to caution China privately that it would face consequences.

EU officials have so far looked away from enforcing tough sanctions on China over human rights issues, as the country plays a far bigger role for the bloc’s economy than Russia, another person familiar with the matter said.

EU sanctions would require all 27 member countries to come to agreement, which is often elusive; consensus was tough even in isolating Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, in part because its gas was critical for Germany.

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

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

But there is rising concern in the German government over its economic reliance on China, with the economy minister promising a new trade policy and “no more naivety” on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz refused to react.

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