China has blocked the shipments of more than 100 Taiwanese food exporters to the country. With the export ban, Beijing wants to put economic pressure on Taiwan in the run-up to the expected visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.
Chinese customs imposed the ban on Monday, the Taiwanese newspaper United Daily News reported. According to the newspaper, the ban will affect Taiwanese exports of goods such as seafood, tea, and honey. The Taipei-based Apple Daily reported that China is reportedly holding back the goods due to outdated information on the import papers. The Taiwan Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority is trying to get more information about the problem.
The Chinese export ban is the latest in a series of measures Beijing has taken against Taiwan’s agricultural industry. Many of southern Taiwan’s fruit-producing regions are strongholds of political support for President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party, which is calling for Taiwan’s full independence. Last year, China already imposed an export ban on pineapples and apples from Taiwan.
The Chinese Communist Party claims Taiwan as part of its own territory, despite never having controlled the island, and considers it a renegade province. Beijing has already indicated that it sees a possible visit by Pelosi as a provocation. Chinese President Xi Jinping recently warned his US counterpart Joe Biden not to “play with fire” around Taiwan.
Pelosi, who is expected to land in Taiwan on Tuesday evening local time, said her visit would express her “unshakable” support for the Taiwanese seeking full independence. Communist China, however, strongly opposes an independent, Western-oriented Taiwan and does not want foreign forces to interfere in the matter.