The U.S. is considering options for a sanctions package against China to deter it from invading Taiwan, with the European Union coming under diplomatic pressure from Taipei to do the same, according to sources familiar with the discussions.
The sources said the 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 scale new heights in the Taiwan Strait.
In both cases, the idea is to take sanctions beyond measures already taken in the West to restrict some trade and investment with China in sensitive technologies like computer chips and telecoms equipment.
The sources did not provide any details of what is being considered but the notion of sanctions on the world’s second-largest economy and one of the global supply chain’s biggest links raises questions of feasibility.
“The potential imposition of sanctions on China is a far more complex exercise than sanctions on Russia, given U.S. and allies’ extensive entanglement with the Chinese economy,” said Nazak Nikakhtar, a former senior U.S. Commerce Department official.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to bring Taiwan under Beijing’s control and has not ruled out the use of force.
He is set to secure a third, five-year leadership term at a Communist Party congress next month. Taiwan’s government strongly rejects China’s sovereignty claims.
Responding to the news on the sanctions package, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson in Beijing warned against underestimating China.
“I want to emphasise that any country or person should not underestimate the strong determination and firm will of the Chinese government and people in defending national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and realising the reunification of the motherland,” the spokesperson, Mao Ning, said on Wednesday.