| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Taiwan to join ‘democratic countries’ in sanctions on Russia

Taiwan will join “democratic countries” in sanctioning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the government announced on Friday, with the world’s largest contract chipmaker, TSMC, pledging to follow all export control requirements.

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory and has seen growing military pressure from Beijing in the previous two years, is keeping a careful eye on the problem.

“We strongly condemn such an act of invasion and would join democratic nations in imposing sanctions together,” Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters in Taipei, without providing any information.

Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua stated that the island will “harshly analyze” its exports to Russia and “communicate” with undisclosed friends on future moves. She also did not go into further detail.

According to the foreign ministry, the island, which is critical to the global semiconductor supply chain, would “work closely with the United States and other like-minded countries to implement suitable steps in order to liberate Ukraine from the horrors of war.”

Asked about the sanctions, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) , , a major Apple Inc supplier and Asia’s most valuable listed company, said it would follow export control rules.

“TSMC complies with all applicable laws and regulations and is fully committed to complying with the new export control rules announced,” it said in a statement.

“The company also has a rigorous export control system in place, including a robust assessment and review process to ensure export control restrictions are followed.”

Russia is not a major market for Taiwan’s goods. Taiwan’s trade with Ukraine and Russia each accounted for less than 1% of its total, government data showed.

The island has a natural gas contract with Russia which is due to expire in March and Taiwan will diversify its supplies, the economic ministry said on Thursday.

Asked about Taiwan’s sanctions, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the island’s government never missed an opportunity to “grab eyeballs and try to make their presence felt”.

“But this kind of trick will not prevail,” he added.

China is not imposing sanctions on Russia, saying sanctions have never resolved any problems.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, speaking at an event in the southern city of Tainan, reiterated that the situations of Taiwan and Ukraine were not the same, and that the Taiwan Strait formed a “natural barrier”.

The Taiwan military’s improvement in its combat power, as well as the high attention paid to the region by “friendly and allied countries” give strong confidence in maintaining security, she said.

“We must also consolidate our psychological defences, strengthen preventive cognitive warfare operations, and prevent foreign forces and local collaborators from using false information to create panic and affect the morale of Taiwanese society by using Ukraine’s turbulent situation.”

Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told reporters a working group was watching the Ukraine situation and would see if the war caused any “linkage” to China. Commanders and their deputies had been ordered not to leave their bases at the same time, the minister said.

The Defence Ministry released a video set to music featuring a montage of its fighter jets, tanks, warships and soldiers training to demonstrate resolve and determination to defend Taiwan.

“In the face of unceasing communist harassment of Taiwan, we stick fast to democracy and freedom every day,” the ministry said in captions on the video.

  • Reuters