TAIPEI, Taiwan—The Taiwanese government on Feb. 25 announced that it will impose economic sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement issued on Friday, said the Russian invasion has “jeopardized regional and global peace and stability” and posed “the most serious threat and challenge to the rules-based international order.”
“In order to compel Russia to halt its military aggression against Ukraine, and to restart peaceful dialogue among all parties concerned as soon as possible, the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) announces it will join international economic sanctions against Russia,” the ministry said.
The ministry did not provide details on what sanctions Taiwan will slap on Russia.
“Taiwan will continue to coordinate closely with the United States and other like-minded countries to adopt appropriate measures in order to free Ukraine from the horrors of war,” the ministry concluded.
Australia, Canada, Japan, the European Union, the UK, and the United States have announced sanctions against Russia after Moscow launched what Russian President Vladimir Putin called a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Taiwan was among U.S. allies named when the White House unveiled an “unprecedented package of financial sanctions and export restrictions” against Russia on Feb. 24. According to Daleep Singh, deputy national security adviser and deputy director of the National Economic Council in the White House, U.S. exports restrictions will hit several Russian sectors, including defense, aerospace, and maritime.
Singh said the United States will impose exports bans by working in close coordination with the European Union, Australia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan.
Taiwan is a major manufacturer of semiconductors, home to the world’s largest contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC). Semiconductors are tiny chips that power everything from smartphones, computers, fighter jets, to missile systems.
Following the Taiwan government’s announcement, TSMCI said in a statement that it “complies with all applicable laws and regulations and is fully committed to complying with the new export control rules announced.”
“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,” TSMC added.
TSMC told Taiwan’s government-run Central News Agency that it is exporting almost nothing to Russia at the moment. In 2021, 65 percent of TSMC chips went to North America, followed by the Asia-Pacific region at 14 percent, China 10 percent, and Japan 5 percent.
According to data from Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan exported $1.318 billion worth of goods to Russia in 2021, while importing $5 billion Russian products. Currently, Taiwan’s trade with Russia accounts for only 0.76 percent of the island’s total trade.
Also on Friday, Taiwan’s Economic Minister Wang Mei-hua said that Taiwan will diversify its natural gas supplies after a contract with Russia expires in March.
Currently, Taiwan is receiving international attention for more than just its semiconductor chips. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has fueled speculation about the fate of Taiwan, whether the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would take a cue from Russia and invade the self-governing island soon.
In October last year, Chinese leader Xi Jinping vowed that “reunification” of Taiwan with China would “definitely be realized.”
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters on Friday that Taiwan and Ukraine’s situation are fundamentally different, with the former having the Taiwan Strait as a “natural barrier.”
China and Taiwan are separated by the Taiwan Strait, which is about 80 miles wide at its narrowest point.
The Taiwan military’s continuous 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 the island’s security, she added.
“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,” Tsai said.
Taiwan’s defense ministry announced on Friday that the island’s military forces continue to monitor military developments around the Taiwan Strait while maintaining high-level alert. It also said that the Taiwanese military is actively strengthing combat readiness, in order to respond to various possible emergencies.
Reuters contributed to this article.