BEIJING: Taiwan canceled air flights on Thursday as chinese navy fired artillery near the island in retaliation for a visit by a top US lawmaker, but the impact on shipments of processor chips and other goods needed by global industries was unclear.
China ordered ships and planes to avoid military exercises that surrounded the self-governing island, which the mainland’s ruling Communist Party claims as part of its territory. Hong Kong newspaper The South China Morning Post called the exercises an “effective blockade of Taiwan”.
Beijing announced “live-fire exercises” after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived on Tuesday for a one-day visit, defying Beijing’s warnings. It also banned imports of hundreds of Taiwanese food items, including fish, fruits and cookies.
The two sides, which split in 1949 after a civil war, have no official ties but one of the busiest manufacturing and technology relationships in the world.
On Thursday, at least 40 flights to and from Taiwan were canceled, according to the China Times newspaper. He cited Taoyuan Airport in the capital, Taipei, as saying the cancellations were “not necessarily” related to military exercises.
There was no immediate indication of the possible impact on shipping, which could shake up the global economy. Taiwan produces more than half of the processor chips used in smartphones, cars, tablets and other electronic devices.
Any significant disruption would “create shockwaves for global industries,” said Rajiv Biswas from S&P Global Market Intelligence in an email.
Some flights to the mainland would detour via Hong Kong. Taiwanese Transport Minister Wang Kwo-tsai said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Cases have increased even as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government has stepped up pressure on Taiwan, sending increasing numbers of fighter jets and bombers to fly over the island to intimidate his government.
Bilateral trade soared 26% last year to $328.3 billion. Taiwan said chip sales to Chinese factories rose 24.4% to $104.3 billion.
Fruit, fish and other foods make up only a small portion of Taiwan’s exports to China, but the ban is hurting regions seen as supporters of President Tsai Ing-wen.
Beijing has used import bans on bananas, wine, coal and other goods as leverage in disputes with Australia, the Philippines and other governments. (AP)



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