China halts climate talks with US over Pelosi's visit to Taiwan

White House says not all military channels have been suspended between the two superpowers

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Washington said China's decision to halt co-operation with the US on key issues including climate change in retribution for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan is "irresponsible".

The two largest polluters in the world last year vowed to work together to speed up climate action this decade, but that deal appears to be unstable following Ms Pelosi's visit.

“China is not punishing just the US — it’s punishing the whole world,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Friday.

Mr Kirby insisted that Washington is not seeking any escalation with China.

“There's no reason for a crisis to erupt … it's the Chinese that have been issuing bellicose rhetoric and threats,” he said.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said dialogue between US and Chinese regional commanders and defence department heads would also be cancelled, as would talks on maritime safety.

“Despite China's serious concerns and firm opposition, Pelosi insisted on visiting Taiwan, seriously interfering in China's internal affairs, undermining China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, trampling on the One China policy, and threatening the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” a foreign ministry representative said in a statement.

Not all military channels have been suspended between the US and China, Mr Kirby said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the two economic superpowers must work together for the world's sake.

"For the secretary general, there is no way to solve the most pressing problems of all the world without an effective dialogue and co-operation between the two countries," Mr Guterres's spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

In Washington, the White House summoned Chinese ambassador Qin Gang in protest of the country's military drills in the Taiwan Strait.

China launched its largest military drills to date in the area surrounding Taiwan after Ms Pelosi's trip to the island. The live-fire drills were expected to continue until Sunday.

“We condemned [China's] military actions, which are irresponsible, at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability and across the Taiwan Strait,” Mr Kirby said.

“We made clear to the ambassador that Beijing's actions are of concern to Taiwan, to us and to our partners around the world,” he said, noting rising concerns among Group of Seven countries and the Association of South-East Asian Nations.

“Finally, we made clear once again as we have done privately at the highest levels and publicly: nothing has changed about our One China policy,” Mr Kirby added.

Under this policy, the US recognises Beijing as the government of China and does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, though it does send defence equipment to the territory.

Speaking at a news conference in Cambodia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington has repeatedly told China it is not seeking to make a crisis out of Ms Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.

“There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalatory military response,” Mr Blinken said,

“Now, they've taken dangerous acts to a new level.”

Taiwan's Ministry of Defence said on Friday that 68 Chinese aircraft and 13 naval ships were conducting drills in the Taiwan Strait. The ministry said some of them had crossed into the median line.

China's military is conducting air and sea drills to the north, south-west and east of the territory to “test the troops' joint combat capabilities”, China's Eastern Theatre Command said.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said the territory would not seek to provoke a conflict but to defend its national security.

The USS Ronald Reagan, an American aircraft carrier, was ordered to remain in the area to “monitor the situation”.

Mr Blinken said the US would continue to support allies in the region and conduct air and maritime transit through the strait.

“We will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.”

China said earlier on Friday it was imposing sanctions on Ms Pelosi.

Ms Pelosi earlier this week said her trip to Taiwan did not undermine Washington's One China policy or change the status quo.

Updated: August 05, 2022, 7:51 PM
NEWSLETTERS
MORE FROM THE NATIONAL