China announces new sanctions against US after Taiwan president meets House speaker

China has imposed a fresh tranche of sanctions against the US in retaliation against House speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s meeting with the Taiwanese president.

The measures announced on Friday apply to Taiwan's de facto ambassador to the US, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank which hosted Ms Tsai in New York and presented her with a leadership award.

Defying repeated threats from Beijing, Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen held talks with Mr McCarthy at the Reagan Library outside Los Angeles on Wednesday during a stopover in the US.

Mr McCarthy joined a growing list of foreign politicians and officials who have met Ms Tsai in a show of support for the self-governed island in the face of China's aggression.

The Chinese foreign ministry on Friday announced that the two organisations 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.

The ministry also sanctioned Sarah May Stern, chair of the Hudson Institute board of directors; John P Walters, the institute's director; John Heubusch, former executive director of the Reagan Foundation, and Joanne M Drake, the foundation's chief administrator.

China has banned these officials from entering the country, and frozen any of their properties in the country, it said.

A separate round of sanctions targetted Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the US. Beijing prohibited Hsiao Bi-khim and her family members from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau.

"Wow, the PRC (People's Republic of China) just sanctioned me again, for the second time," Ms Hsiao tweeted.

Taipei- based think-tank Prospect Foundation and Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats, a multinational alliance that Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) co-founded in 1993, were also sanctioned by China for advocating “Taiwan independence”, Xinhua reported.

Taiwan tore into China saying it had no right to "butt in" when it came to Ms Tsai's overseas trips and that Beijing was "deceiving itself" if it thought the sanctions would have any effect.

"It not only deepens our people's antipathy but exposes the irrational and absurd nature of the communist regime," it said.

China has beefed up its military activities around the island in recent years, arguing that Taipei is obliged to reunite with China, by force if necessary, and has no right to conduct foreign relations. Taiwan has been self-ruled since it split from the mainland in 1949 following a civil war.

Following Ms Tsai's meeting, China sent warships in waters around Taiwan and warned of “resolute” actions.

It was a more muted response compared to Beijing’s full-scale military drills last August after then-House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei. China also imposed sanctions then, including an entry ban on seven Taiwanese officials and lawmakers including Ms Hsiao whom it accused of being “independence diehards”.

The Joe Biden administration has maintained that there is nothing provocative about the visit by Ms Tsai. However, the visit comes at a time when the US-China relationship has fallen to historic lows.

The Taiwanese president urged continued support for her country and warned that its democracy was “under threat”.

“It is no secret that today, the peace that we maintained and the democracy we have worked hard to build are facing unprecedented challenges,” Ms Tsai said during her US visit.

“We once again find ourselves in a world where democracy is under threat, and the urgency of keeping the beacon of freedom shining cannot be understated.”