China retaliated for the United States House speaker’s meeting with the Taiwanese president by announcing sanctions Friday against the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and other organizations, adding to strains over the self-governed island democracy Beijing claims as part of its territory.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy held talks Wednesday with President Tsai Ing-wen at the Reagan library in Simi Valley, California, in defiance of Chinese warnings. McCarthy joined a growing series of foreign legislators who have met Tsai in a show of support for Taiwan in the face of Chinese intimidation.
U.S.-Chinese relations have sunk to their lowest level in decades due to disputes over the status of Taiwan, which split with China in 1949 after a civil war, as well as security, technology and Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong and Muslim ethnic minorities.
The mainland’s ruling Communist Party says Taiwan is destined to reunite with China, by force if necessary, and has no right to conduct foreign relations. President Xi Jinping’s government says contact with foreign officials will encourage Taiwanese who want formal independence, a step Beijing says would lead to war.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the Reagan library and the Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank, were sanctioned for “providing a platform and convenience to Taiwan separatist activities.” It said Chinese institutions were prohibited from having any cooperation or contact with them.