Switzerland set to match EU sanctions if China invades Taiwan – agency chief

The Chinese and Taiwanese national flags are displayed next to military aircraft in this illustration taken April 9, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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ZURICH, July 30 (Reuters) – The head of Switzerland’s economic sanctions agency expects the neutral country to adopt whatever punitive measures the European Union will launch against China if it invades Taiwan, she said in a newspaper interview.

China has stepped up its military activities around Taiwan, seeking to pressure the democratically elected government into accepting Chinese sovereignty. Taiwan’s government says only the island’s 23 million people can decide their future, and although it wants peace, it will defend itself if attacked. Read more

Asked by the Neue Zuercher Zeitung newspaper whether Switzerland would adopt EU sanctions against China in this case, the director of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, said: ” I firmly believe that we would adopt such sanctions.

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“However, sanctions in the case of China would be much more drastic (than sanctions against Russia) because the economic relations are much more important. Therefore, there would probably be more discussions in the EU and in the States States as well as in Switzerland as in Switzerland. there were some in Russia. But I hope it will never come to that.

Ineichen-Fleisch defended Switzerland’s record of enacting EU sanctions against Russian individuals and companies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation “.

Pressure has intensified on Switzerland – a popular destination for Moscow’s elite and a place of detention for Russian wealth – to more quickly identify and freeze the assets of hundreds of sanctioned Russians. Read more

Since this month, Switzerland has frozen 6.7 billion Swiss francs ($7.04 billion) of Russian financial assets and 15 properties, and Ineichen-Fleisch said that figure is unlikely to change much.

“We at SECO have no indication that there are many assets of sanctioned individuals that have yet to be found,” she said.

($1 = 0.9514 Swiss francs)

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Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Toby Chopra

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