Taiwan urges people to eat more pineapples after China bans imports amid campaign of ‘intimidation’

01-Mar-2021 Intellasia | Reuters | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has called on people to eat more pineapples to help farmers, saying Taiwan had been “ambushed” by a Chinese ban on the fruit, reminiscent of Beijing’s use of tariffs to sting Australia.

Amid what some have labelled a campaign of “intimidation”, China said on Friday it was suspending imports of pineapples from sub-tropical Taiwan, citing “harmful creatures” it said could come with the fruit, threatening China’s own agriculture.

The move, which is due to begin at the start of March, prompted condemnation from Taiwan’s ruling party.

Ms Tsai said in a Facebook post that the island’s agricultural exports met international standards.

“China sent an ambush-like notice, unilaterally suspending the imports of Taiwan pineapples. This obviously was not a normal trade decision,” she wrote without elaboration.

“To support the farmers, let’s eat pineapples all together!”

Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said on top of ongoing “military intimidation”, Beijing is also using the import ban to exert economic pressure on Taiwan, which counts China among its top trading partners despite political tensions.

“This is not the first time China has used agricultural exports to other countries as political threats,” the DPP said in a statement.

China has over the past year added heavy tariffs to imported Australian products such as wine, barley, beef, cotton and coal as the relationship between the two nations deteriorates.

Beijing, which has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, has carried out repeated air missions in the south-western corner of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone in recent months.

Taiwan’s air force scrambled for a second straight day last weekend after a dozen Chinese fighter aircraft and bombers carried out drills close to Taiwan-controlled islands in the disputed South China Sea.

Asked at a news briefing last month about the air forces’ recent activities, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said Taiwan was an inseparable part of China.

Wu said a “handful” of people in Taiwan were seeking the island’s independence.

“We warn those ‘Taiwan independence’ elements: those who play with fire will burn themselves, and ‘Taiwan independence’ means war,” he added.

Taiwan exported about 46,000 tonnes of pineapples last year, and more than 90 per cent of them were sold to China, the DPP said.



Category: Taiwan

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