China has imposed sanctions on former Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher following the inauguration of Taiwan's president

China's Foreign Ministry announced sanctions against former Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., on Tuesday, the day after Taiwan inaugurated a new president.

The former US lawmaker, whose early departure from Congress last month further reduced the narrow majority in the House of Representatives, has been banned from entering China, the ministry said, according to Reuters.

China's Foreign Ministry reportedly said that Gallagher “has interfered in China's internal affairs” without elaborating, and that China will therefore freeze its assets in the country and ban organizations and individuals there from to work with him.

At a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin also criticized US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for congratulating Taiwan's new President Lai Ching-te.

“It is a serious violation of the US political commitment to maintain only cultural, commercial and other unofficial relations with the Taiwan region,” Wang said. Bloomberg.

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In February, Gallagher led a U.S. congressional delegation to Taiwan, where he met with both then-President Tsai Ing-wen and her successor Lai.

Then-Speaker Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., right, and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., attend the House Select Committee on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, for the CCP roundtable entitled “The Space Race Returns.” . (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

According to the select committee, Gallagher told Tsai that the trip was for Democrats and Republicans to show “our bipartisan support for this partnership” and thanked her for “not only being an incredible leader here in Taiwan, but really distinguished as a leader.” leader in the free world.”

“Freedom is under attack by authoritarian aggression. And we must be more vigilant than ever if we are to pass on this gift of freedom that we have been given to the next generation,” he said at the time.

Just days ago, Gallagher formally joined the Hudson Institute, an American conservative think tank in Washington, DC, as a distinguished fellow. At an opening event on Monday, Gallagher, the former House of Representatives Committee Chairman on the CCP, discussed how China is fueling fentanyl trafficking in the US and “underscored the need to strengthen deterrence in the Indo-Pacific,” according to the report. institute.

Inauguration of the Taiwanese President

Taiwan's new President Lai Ching-te, right, and former President Tsai Ing-wen during Lai's inauguration ceremonies in Taipei, Taiwan, on Monday, May 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

Lai said in his inauguration speech on Monday that he wants peace with China and urged the country to stop its military threats and intimidation against the self-governing island that Beijing claims as its own territory.

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“I hope China will face the reality of Taiwan's existence, respect the choices of the Taiwanese people and in good faith choose dialogue over confrontation,” Lai said after being sworn in.

Lai vowed to “neither yield nor provoke” Beijing and said he sought peace in relations with China. However, he stressed that the island's democracy is determined to defend itself “against the many threats and attempts at infiltration from China,” according to The Associated Press.

Wang Wenbin at the Beijing press conference

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin criticized Foreign Minister Antony Blinken for congratulating Taiwan's new president. (Johannes Neudecker/Photo Alliance via Getty Images)

The Chinese agency responsible for Taiwan affairs criticized Lai's inauguration speech for promoting “the fallacy of separatism,” inciting confrontation and relying on foreign forces to seek independence.

“We will never tolerate or condone any form of separatist activities related to Taiwan's independence,” said Chen Binhua, spokesman for the Taiwan Office of the Chinese State Council, adding that opponents “dominate the historical trend of the eventual reunification of the motherland can't stop.”

China's Commerce Ministry also announced sanctions on Monday against Boeing and two other defense companies over arms sales to Taiwan.

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Lai, 64, succeeds Tsai, who led Taiwan through eight years of economic and social development despite the COVID-19 pandemic and escalating military threats from China. Beijing views Taiwan as a renegade province and has stepped up threats to annex the country by force if necessary.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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