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The Netherlands should fight for a package of sanctions that would keep China from invading Taiwan. So said Representative D66 Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, who is visiting Taiwan with an international group. It is the first visit by a Dutch deputy since Henk Kroll visited the island in 2019.
“The consequences of a Chinese attack on Taiwan on our economy and the global economy will be many times greater than what happened in Ukraine,” said Shordsma, referring to the large trade flows across the Taiwan Strait and the computer chip industry. “It also means that the urgency that the Netherlands should feel to adjust our policy of supporting Taiwan and putting pressure on China has increased.”
Sjoerdsma is visiting Taipei with representatives from, among other countries, Germany, the United Kingdom and Ukraine. They were received by President Tsai Ing-wen Thursday morning. “We thank you for your support,” President Tsai told delegates. MEP Reinhard Bütikofer had to watch from behind the webcam. He tested positive for Corona.
“Taiwan is on the front line of authoritarian expansion,” Tsai said in a video posted by her office in Taipei. She referred to the war in Ukraine. “The democratic world order faces serious challenges. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing long-running military exercises of China all point to a growing authoritarianism.”
One of the biggest lessons of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is that we did not explain to Putin in advance what the consequences would be.
US Secretary of State Blinken said last week that he expects a Chinese invasion of Taiwan to happen “sooner” than previously thought. Tsai himself does not speak frankly about a timetable, but Taiwan has been warned. “Everything shows that they are taking into account that it doesn’t have to be something that takes a few years, but it can also happen very quickly,” says Shurradsma, whose delegation previously spoke with the Taiwanese foreign minister.
Reason enough for Europe’s parliamentarians to wake up. “One of the biggest lessons from the Russian invasion of Ukraine is that we did not explain to Putin beforehand what the consequences were,” says Schorrdsma. “I think it is very important for the Netherlands and for the European Union that we now put on the table what the consequences will be for Beijing if they attack Taiwan.”
Close the banking system
The plans include a range of political and economic sanctions, and the closure of the banking system is also on the table in relation to the D66 member. Tools he believes must be prepared if Beijing decides to invade or prevent Taiwan. Shordsma: “The consequences should be so far-reaching that Beijing’s costs will be much greater than the revenues.”
“The so-called parliamentarians you mentioned are trying to stir up the Taiwan issue,” Chinese Foreign Affairs Spokesman Zhao Lijian said in response. “They are good at spreading lies and rumors and have no credibility, but they will help themselves in humiliation,” Zhao said of Shurradsma and his comrades’ plans to impose sanctions. “For the Democratic Progressive Party (Taiwan’s ruling party) we say: Any cooperation with foreign forces is doomed to failure,” Zhao said.
Like Bütikofer, Sjoerdsma is on China’s sanctions list for “spreading lies and disinformation,” Beijing authorities said. The sanctions came in response to the European Union’s sanctions against the People’s Republic of China for human rights violations in Xinjiang, and the proposal passed by the House of Representatives to describe the plight of Muslim minorities in the region as genocide.
Shordsma says he doesn’t care much about what he calls intimidation by the Chinese authorities. “When the European Union puts people on a sanctions list for human rights violations, Beijing puts people on the sanctions list who are bound by that,” the parliamentarian said. “We would like to enter into a dialogue with the Chinese government and people, but that has become impossible because many of us are on the sanctions list,” he added.
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