China announced on Friday the halting or suspension of open talks with the United States on issues ranging from climate change and military relations to the fight against drugs in response to the visit to Taiwan this week by the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
The moves, which come amid souring relations between Beijing and Washington, are the latest in a series of actions promised by China to punish Washington for allowing visits to an island that Chinese officials say is part of its territory. and that it must be annexed, by force if necessary. In addition, it coincides with the Chinese military’s live-fire exercises in the Taiwan Strait, which began a day after Pelosi’s visit and will end on Sunday.
Chinese military forces also fired missiles over Taiwan, defense officials told state media. China routinely opposes the self-governing island having its own contacts with foreign governments, but Beijing’s response to Pelosi’s visit has been unusually vociferous.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said dialogue between regional commanders and the heads of the US and Chinese defense departments, as well as talks on military maritime security, would be cancelled.
Cooperation on the return of illegal immigrants, criminal investigations, transnational crime, drug trafficking and climate change will be suspended, the ministry said.
The ministry said in a statement that it decided on the measures because Pelosi visited Taiwan “in disregard of strong opposition and serious protests from China.”
China has accused the government of President Joe Biden of attacking Chinese sovereignty, even though Pelosi is the head of the government’s legislative branch and Biden had no authority to prevent her visit.
China’s actions came ahead of a key congress of the ruling Communist Party later this year, at which President Xi Jinping is expected to win a third five-year term as party leader. With the economy reeling, the party has stoked nationalism and launched almost daily attacks on the government of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, which refuses to recognize Taiwan as part of China.
Moments earlier on Friday, China said that more than 100 planes and 10 warships had been involved in its military exercises in the past two days, and announced largely symbolic sanctions against Pelosi and her family.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday that fighter jets, bombers, destroyers and frigates were used in the so-called “joint blockade operations” in six areas off Taiwan’s coast.
China’s eastern military command also tested new versions of missiles that it said hit unidentified targets in the Taiwan Strait “with precision.” Among them were projectiles that flew over the island and landed in the Pacific, military officials told state media, in a major escalation of Beijing’s threats to annex the territory by force.
The moves, which Xinhua described as on an “unprecedented scale,” are in response to a visit by Pelosi, the highest-ranking US politician to set foot in Taiwan in 25 years.
In general, dialogue and exchanges between China and the United States, particularly on military matters and economic exchanges, have stalled at best. However, climate change and combating drug trafficking such as fentanyl were areas where they had found common cause, and Beijing’s suspension of cooperation could have significant implications in the fight to make progress in those areas. topics.
China and the United States are the first and second most polluting countries in the world, since together they produce almost 40% of all fossil fuel emissions. Its top climate change diplomats, John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua, have a cordial relationship dating back to the Paris climate accord, made possible by a negotiated breakthrough between them and others.
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