China sanctions groups, Taiwan official in US as retaliation

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China announced sanctions Friday against two Asia-based organizations and Taiwan’s representative in the U.S. in response to the closely watched meeting this week between the U.S. House Speaker and Taiwan’s president.

The Prospect Foundation and the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats were being sanctioned for their involvement in promoting Taiwan independence “under the guise of academic and research exchanges,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson, Zhu Fenglian, said.

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy held talks with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in California this week in a rare high-level, bipartisan meeting on U.S. soil.

The meeting came as U.S.-China relations have sunk to historic lows and as tensions between Taiwan and China have risen. China views any official exchanges between foreign governments and Taiwan as an attempt to raise Taipei’s global status, and thus an infringement on Beijing’s claims of sovereignty over the island.

China had vowed countermeasures against Taipei for its interactions with the U.S. “We will take resolute measures to punish the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and their actions, and resolutely safeguard our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement Thursday, referring to Tsai and her political party as separatists.

The sanctions effectively are a travel ban on the individuals in charge of the organizations. They’re also banned from working with Chinese organizations.

The Prospect Foundation is a Taiwanese think tank that works on dialogue and cooperation on issues related to Taiwan’s security, economy, and social development. The Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats is a regional organization established in Thailand that promotes exchanges among liberal and democratic political parties in Asia. Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party is a member.

Separately, the Taiwan Affairs Office also announced further sanctions on Hsiao Bi-Khim, Taiwan’s representative in the U.S.

The ban on Hsiao does not appear to be substantively different from the ban enacted on her last August, when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. China then announced sanctions on a list of individuals from the DPP and ruling administration, including Hsiao.

Then it banned the individuals, their family members and related organizations from traveling or operating in China, including Hong Kong. Friday’s announcement said any financial sponsors of Hsiao are also included.

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