TAIPEI/FRANKFURT/WASHINGTON: The United States is considering options for a set of sanctions against China to deter it from invading Taiwan, with the European Union under diplomatic pressure from Taipei to do the same, according to sources close to the talks.
The sources said deliberations in Washington and Taipei’s separate lobbying of EU envoys were both at an early stage – a response to fears of a Chinese invasion that have grown as military tensions have grown. are intensifying in the Taiwan Strait.
In both cases, the idea is to take sanctions beyond the measures already taken in the West to restrict certain trade and investment with China in sensitive technologies like computer chips and telecommunications equipment.
The sources did not provide any details on what is being considered, but the notion of sanctions against the world’s second-largest economy and one of the largest links in the global supply chain raises questions of feasibility.
“The potential imposition of sanctions on China is a far more complex exercise than sanctions on Russia, given the significant entanglement of the United States and its allies with the Chinese economy,” said Nazak Nikakhtar, a former senior US Department of Commerce official.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory and last month fired missiles over the island and sailed warships across its unofficial maritime border after the Speaker of the US House of Representatives United Nancy Pelosi traveled to Taipei in what Beijing saw as a provocation.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to reunite democratically-ruled Taiwan with the mainland and has not ruled out the use of force. He is set to get a third five-year term as head of a Communist Party congress next month.
In Washington, officials are considering options for a possible China sanctions package to deter Xi from trying to invade Taiwan, a US official and one country official said in close coordination with Washington.
US sanctions talks began after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, but took on new urgency after the Chinese reaction to Pelosi’s visit, the two sources said.
The United States, backed by NATO allies, took a similar approach to Russia in January with an unspecified sanctions threat, but that failed to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from launching his invasion. from Ukraine.
The White House is focused on getting countries on the same page, including coordination between Europe and Asia, and avoiding provoking Beijing, the non-US official said.
The White House declined to comment.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it had discussed China’s recent war games and the “great challenges” China poses to Taiwan and the region with the United States, Europe and others like-minded partners, but could not disclose details.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
Taiwan had previously discussed sanctions with European officials following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but China’s recent military drills have seen Taiwan’s stance harden, six sources familiar with Taiwan’s talks told Reuters. and Europe.
Calls by senior Taiwanese officials to prepare for sanctions have intensified in recent weeks. A recent Chinese white paper, which withdrew a promise not to send troops or administrators to Taiwan if Beijing takes control of the island, prompted renewed efforts with Europe.
Taiwan didn’t ask for anything specific, only that Europe plan what action it might take if China attacked, a source briefed on the talks said, and asked Europe to privately warn China that she would face consequences.
EU officials have so far been reluctant to impose harsh sanctions on China over human rights issues because the country plays a much bigger role in the bloc’s economy than Russia, a said another person familiar with the matter.
EU sanctions would require all 27 member countries to agree, which is often elusive; consensus was difficult even to isolate Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, in part because its gas was essential for Germany.
All of Europe, with the exception of the Vatican, has official diplomatic relations with Beijing but not with Taipei, although Taiwanese and European officials have had numerous private contacts since the start of the Chinese military exercises, the sources said.
Germany, the bloc’s economic engine, is “suspicious”, according to another official familiar with the discussion. “I don’t think Russia and Ukraine have fundamentally changed the way they view their relationship with China.”
But the German government is increasingly worried about its economic dependence on China, with the economy minister committing on Tuesday to a new trade policy and “more naivety”.
A spokesman for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declined to comment.

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