US officials who have engaged in “nasty behaviour” over Chinese-claimed Taiwan will face sanctions, China’s Foreign Ministry says, after Washington lifted curbs on exchanges between US and Taiwanese officials.
Sino-US ties have worsened as China has already condemned this month’s easing, announced by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Further adding to China’s anger, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, spoke last week to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, after a planned trip to Taipei was called off.
Asked at a daily news briefing how China would follow through on its pledge to make the United States “pay a heavy price” for its engagements with Taiwan, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said some US officials would face sanctions.
“Owing to the wrong actions of the United States, China has decided to impose sanctions on responsible US officials who have engaged in nasty behaviour on the Taiwan issue,” she said.
Addressing US sanctions imposed on six mainland and Hong Kong officials announced last Friday over the recent mass arrests of pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong, Hua said that China has decided to impose sanctions on US officials, members of Congress, personnel at non-governmental organisations and their family members over their “nasty behaviour” on the Hong Kong issue.
Hua did not specify the names of the US officials under sanction, or the nature of the sanctions.
Joe Biden will be sworn in as president on Wednesday, and a new team will take over at the State Department, including a new secretary of state.
Beijing has responded to increased US support for Taiwan, including arms sales and visits by senior US officials, by stepping up military activity near the island, including flying military aircraft nearby.
Relations between the US and China, the world’s two biggest economies, have plunged to their lowest level in decades, with disagreements on issues including Taiwan, Hong Kong, human rights, the coronavirus pandemic, the South China Sea, trade and espionage.