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China slaps curbs on Taiwan as Pelosi vows 'ironclad' defence of democracy

Restrictions range from fruit and fish imports to export of natural sand

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China | Taiwan | Nancy Pelosi

Agencies 

Nancy Pelosi
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (right) in Taipei on Wednesday.

rolled out curbs Wednesday on the import of fruit and fish from while halting shipments of sand to the island in the wake of a visit by US House Speaker .

The trip by Pelosi, who is second in line to the presidency and the highest-profile elected US official to visit Tai­wan in 25 years, has ignited a diplomatic firestorm. Pelosi has left after a brief but controversial visit.

She landed in late Tuesday in the wake of increasingly stark warnings from China, which considers the island a part of its territory to one day be reclaimed, by force if necessary.

China’s Customs Administration said Wednesday it would suspend so­me citrus fruits and fish imports from Taiwan over alleged “repeated” detection of excessive pesticide residue and positive coronavirus tests on packages.

After a whirlwind two-day journey that included a gathering with Taiwan’s president and vows to protect democracy in Taiwan within the face of rising threats from mainland .

“Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy,” Pelosi mentioned. “America’s determination to preserve democracy here in Taiwan and around the world remains ironclad.”

Beijing is preparing live-fire military exercises this week in areas encircling Taiwan, a significant step up from its responses to previous crises and one that underscores China’s fast-growing combat capabilities.

The People’s Liberation Army said naval, aerial, strategic-missile and other forces conducted joint training on Wednesday to the north, southwest and southeast of Taiwan in the run-up to the live-fire drills, which would involve the use of long-range weapons and conventional missiles.

While the designated live-fire zones mainly lie in waters, some of them are close to Taiwan’s major ports and overlap with what Taipei claims as its territorial waters, which means the drills could disrupt civilian shipping. Depending on the launch sites and missile types, experts say the PLA projectiles could fly over Taiwan—a gesture that would be seen as a major escalation—on their way to waters east of the island.

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First Published: Wed, August 03 2022. 22:22 IST
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