China says it will sanction USA officials for 'nasty' behavior on Taiwan


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials over the Hong Kong mass arrests Friday, describing the arrests as "yet another stark example of Hong Kong's freedoms and democratic processes being fundamentally undermined" by the Chinese government.

China says Taiwan is the most important and sensitive issue in its relationship with the United States, and has previously announced sanctions on US companies selling weapons to Taiwan, though it has not been clear how, or if, they were enforced.

"Owing to the wrong actions of the United States, China has chose to impose sanctions on responsible USA officials who have engaged in nasty behavior on the Taiwan issue", she said, without elaborating.

The move comes days after the USA eased restrictions on contacts between American and Taiwanese officials.

Democrat 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 was also enraged by the announcement U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft would visit Taiwan in the last days of the Trump administration.

The so-called sanctions are merely cheap political tricks and will never shake the determination of the Chinese central government and the Chinese people in safeguarding the country's sovereignty, security and development interest or the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, the spokesperson added.

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When Biden takes office, Democrats will control both the Senate and the House of Representatives but by narrow margins. Raphael Warnock are sworn in this month, leaving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as a crucial tiebreaking vote.

Ties between both the countries have suffered in the aftermath of Mike Pompeo easing the restrictions between USA and Taiwan. "No sanctions. It's all been bluster and rhetoric". Former Australian Kevin Rudd, a long-time China watcher, told CNBC last week that Pompeo's move could upend a major foundation underpinning U.S. The U.S. should stop interfering in China's domestic affairs and endangering China's national security using any kind of excuses, Hua said.

China dismissed the protests and has since overseen a widespread crackdown in the financial hub, including imposing a draconian security law previous year that criminalises much dissent.

Hua stressed that there is only one China in the world, and the HKSAR and the Taiwan region all belong to China.

Experts have warned that Taiwan will remain a contentious issue in the bilateral ties between the US and China.

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