China is imposing sanctions against the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and other U.S.- and Asian-based organizations in retaliation for the closely watched meeting this week between the U.S. House Speaker and Taiwan’s president.
The Reagan library in Simi Valley, California, was the site of the rare high-level, bipartisan meeting Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy hosted this week for talks with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
The meeting came as U.S.-China relations have sunk to historic lows and as tensions between Taiwan and China have risen. China views any official exchanges between foreign governments and Taiwan as an attempt to raise Taipei’s global status, and thus an infringement on Beijing’s claims of sovereignty over the island.
China had vowed countermeasures against Taipei for its interactions with the U.S. “We will take resolute measures to punish the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and their actions, and resolutely safeguard our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement Thursday, referring to Tsai and her political party as separatists.
In addition, the Prospect Foundation and the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats, both in Asia, were being sanctioned for their involvement in promoting Taiwan independence “under the guise of academic and research exchanges,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson, Zhu Fenglian, said.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Hudson Institute think tank and the Reagan library were sanctioned for “providing a platform and convenience to Taiwan separatist activities.”
Four individuals in leadership roles with the organizations also were named: Sarah May Stern, chair of the board of directors of Hudson Institute; John P. Walters, director of the Hudson Institute; John Heubusch, former executive director of the Reagan Foundation; Joanne M. Drake, chief administrative officer of the Reagan Foundation. China said any property or financial assets belonging to them in China would be frozen.
Tsai had accepted a leadership award from the Hudson Institute as part of her trip to the U.S. and also given a speech about Taiwan’s challenges in regional security.
The sanctions effectively are a travel ban on the individuals in charge of the organizations. They’re also banned from working with Chinese organizations.
The Prospect Foundation is a Taiwanese think tank that works on dialogue and cooperation on issues related to Taiwan’s security, economy, and social development. The Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats is a regional organization established in Thailand that promotes exchanges among liberal and democratic political parties in Asia. Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party is a member.
Separately, the Taiwan Affairs Office also announced further sanctions on Hsiao Bi-Khim, Taiwan’s representative in the U.S. The ban on Hsiao does not appear to be substantively different from the ban enacted on her last August, when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. China then announced sanctions on a list of individuals from the DPP and ruling administration, including Hsiao.
Then it banned the individuals, their family members and related organizations from traveling or operating in China, including Hong Kong. Friday’s announcement said any financial sponsors of Hsiao are also included.