The Chinese government has stopped imports of Taiwanese food and attempted to block its energy supplies after Nancy Pelosi, the US Speaker of the House of Representatives, defied its warning by visiting the self-governing island on Tuesday.
The People’s Liberation Army also announced plans to hold military exercises at six locations surrounding the Taiwan island between Thursday and Sunday.
China Times, a pro-Beijing Taiwanese news website, said the Chinese military exercises were no different from a three-day naval blockade of Taiwan and would disrupt Taiwan’s LNG supplies.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said it had 146 days of oil, 10-11 days of gas and 39 days of coal reserves.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the responsibility would be entirely on Beijing if the Chinese government tried to create a crisis or otherwise escalate tensions during Pelosi’s Taiwan trip.
Wang Wen, the executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at China’s Renmin University, wrote in an article published by Guancha.cn that some Chinese were disappointed that the PLA did not leverage the situation to occupy Taiwan but instead China should be praised for its wisdom, rationality and responsibility as a peaceful country.
“Just imagine, if Pelosi’s plane was shot down as suggested by some people, or force was used to reunify Taiwan, it would become a major military collision between China and the US and probably evolve into a world war,” Wang said. “Then, the US will have an excuse to unite the West to sanction China while the divided US will be united due to a war against China. This will be a big help to the US.”
Citing ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Wang said a country should not start a war with anger but only take actions that fulful its interests. He said Pelosi’s Taiwan visit was a shame that would provide great power for China to keep improving.
Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the Chinese Communist Party-run Global Times, who tweeted previously the PLA could shoot down Pelosi’s plane if necessary, said in his latest post he understood that many Chinese people were disappointed that the PLA’s fighter jets did not fly close to Pelosi’s plane.
“Between China and the US, there is no easy way of winning and losing,” Hu said in his post. “We will not seek to win the US in a single thing but let it take revenge in other things. Similarly, if the US wins China in a conflict, we will take revenge in an alternative way.”
Hu said China would lengthen the battlefront and fight back against the US. Hu also said netizens should not lose morale due to a small setback as China would carry on its long-term struggle against the US. He said he would continue to express hawkish opinions on the matter.
On Tuesday evening, Pelosi’s plane landed at the Taipei Songshan Airport, a military airbase. The 82-year-old US politician’s trip to the island was controversial as Beijing had warned that the visit would seriously undermine US-China relations. On July 28, Xi told US President Joe Biden in a phone call that the US should not “play with fire” on the Taiwan matter.
On Tuesday, China’s Air Force deployed warplanes to fly close to the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait. According to the Taiwanese government, more than 20 Chinese military planes flew into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) but did not enter the island’s airspace on Tuesday.
On Pelosi’s landing, Beijing used almost all its diplomatic channels, including the foreign ministry, Chinese embassy in the US and Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, as well as state media, to criticize the US.
The Hong Kong government also said in a statement that it opposed Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and would facilitate the implementation of countermeasures taken by China against the US.
On Wednesday, Pelosi visited the American Institute in Taiwan, the US’ de facto embassy in Taipei, and then met Tsai Chi-Chang, vice president of the Legislative Yuan. You Si-kun, president of the Legislative Yuan, did not show up because he tested positive for Covid-19.
“And now more than ever, American solidarity with Taiwan is crucial. And that is the message we are bringing here today,” Pelosi said during a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday.
Tsai thanked Pelosi’s delegation for working to improve Taiwan-US relations. She said Taiwan’s situation had become the focus of the world after Russia invaded Ukraine.
“Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down and will continue to hold the line of democracy,” Tsai said.
Pelosi also met Tiananmen student leader Wu’erkaixi, Taiwan activist Lee Ming-che and the owner of the Causeway Bay Bookstore Lam Wing-kee at the Jingmei Human Rights Park in Taipei. She left Taiwan at 6 pm local time.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the US had to stop supporting and conniving with “Taiwan independence” separatist forces in any form. It said the US should not seek a “new Cold War,” seek to change China’s system, revitalize its alliances against China, support “Taiwan independence” and look for conflict with China.
On Wednesday, Taiwan Affairs Office said China would stop importing fruits and frozen fish from Taiwan with immediate effect. China’s General Administration of Customs said it had repeatedly identified pest or pesticide in Taiwanese fruits last year and claimed to have found the coronavirus on the island’s frozen food packages in June this year.
China Review News Agency said the import of Taiwanese biscuits was also banned. It said the import ban would seriously hurt Taiwan’s food sellers, especially during the Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional high season, in September.
The Ministry of Commerce said China would also stop exports of natural sand, a construction material.
Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson of Taiwan Affairs Office, said Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and International Cooperation and Development Fund, two Taiwan-based organizations, had wantonly carried out Taiwan independence separatist activities under the guise of “democracy” and “cooperation and development.”
Ma said mainland China had decided to take punitive measures against the two foundations, including bans on them from cooperating with mainland organizations, enterprises or individuals. He said China would also punish donors and service providers of the two foundations
He also said mainland organizations, enterprises and individuals would be prohibited from any transaction or cooperation with Speedtech Energy, Hyweb Technology, Skyla, SkyEyes GPS Technology and other enterprises that had donated money to the two foundations. He added that heads of these companies would be banned from entering the mainland.
In terms of military actions, the PLA would conduct a series of live-fire military drills from Thursday to Sunday in six different areas that encircle the island from all directions, Xinhua News Agency reported.
“China’s countermeasures will not be a one-off but a long-term, resolute and steadily advancing combined action,” the Global Times said in an editorial on Wednesday. “Every time the US and other external forces and the Democratic Progressive Party authorities escalate their collusion and increase their provocation, the process of China’s reunification will be accelerated.”
Chinese media said RT, a Russian state-controlled media organization, criticized Pelosi for her Taiwan trip and encouraged China with a saying “revenge is a dish best served cold,” which is similar to a Chinese saying “it’s never too late for a gentleman to take his revenge.”
Follow Jeff Pao on Twitter at @jeffpao3