China halts climate and military ties over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan

BEIJING (AFP) – China said on Friday it was canceling or suspending dialogue with the United States on a range of issues from climate change to military ties and anti-drug efforts in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this week. .

The measures, which come amid strained relations between Beijing and Washington, are the latest in a promised series of steps aimed at punishing the United States for allowing the visit to the island it claims to be its territory, by force if necessary. China on Thursday launched threatening military exercises in six areas off the coast of Taiwan that it says will continue until Sunday.

Defense officials told state media that missiles were fired over Taiwan. China routinely opposes establishing its own contacts with the autonomous island’s foreign governments, but its response to Pelosi’s visit has been unusually vocal.

The State Department said dialogue between US and Chinese regional leaders and the heads of the two defense departments will be cancelled, along with talks on military maritime safety.

The ministry said cooperation on repatriation of illegal immigrants, criminal investigations, cross-border crimes, illegal drugs and climate change will be suspended.

The ministry said in a statement that the measures were taken because Pelosi visited Taiwan “in disregard of China’s strong opposition and serious protests.”

China has accused the Biden administration of an attack on Chinese sovereignty, even though Pelosi is the head of the legislative branch of the government and Biden has no authority to block her visit.

China’s actions come ahead of the ruling Communist Party’s main congress later this year at which President Xi Jinping is expected to secure a third five-year term as party leader. With the economy faltering, the party fueled nationalism and launched near-daily attacks on the government of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, which refuses to recognize Taiwan as part of China, in order to bolster its support among the public.

China said Friday that more than 100 warplanes and 10 warships took part in live-fire military exercises surrounding Taiwan over the past two days, while announcing mainly symbolic sanctions on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her family during her visit. to Taiwan earlier this week.

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On Friday, China’s Xinhua news agency said fighters, bombers, destroyers and frigates were all used in what it called “joint siege operations”.

The Army’s Eastern Theater Command also launched new versions of the missiles, which it said “accurately” hit unknown targets in the Taiwan Strait.

Military officers told state media that the missile force also fired missiles over Taiwan in the Pacific Ocean, in a major escalation of China’s threats to attack and invade the island.

The exercises, which Xinhua described as being conducted on an “unprecedented scale,” are China’s toughest response to Pelosi’s visit.. The speaker is the highest-ranking US politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years.

The dialogue and exchanges between China and the United States, especially in military matters and economic exchanges, have stalled at best. However, climate change and the fight against trafficking in illegal drugs such as fentanyl are two areas where they have found common cause, and Beijing’s suspension of cooperation could have major implications for efforts to make progress on these issues.

China and the United States rank first and second in climate pollution in the world, and together they produce nearly 40% of all fossil fuel emissions. Senior climate diplomats, John Kerry and Xie Zinhua, have maintained a cordial relationship dating back to the Paris climate agreement, made possible by a negotiated détente between the two and the others.

China committed under Kerry’s urging at last year’s UN global climate summit in Glasgow to work with the US “urgently” to cut climate-destroying emissions, but Kerry was unable to persuade it to speed up China’s move away from coal.

On the Chinese coast across from Taiwan, tourists gathered on Friday to try to catch a glimpse of any military aircraft heading toward the exercise area.

Fighter planes could be heard flying overhead and tourists chanting, “Let’s take Taiwan back”, chanted, “Let’s go back to Taiwan,” looking out over the blue waters of the Taiwan Strait from Pingtan Island, a famous scenic area in Fujian Province.

Pelosi’s visit stirred emotions Wang Lu, a tourist from neighboring Zhejiang Province, said the government’s reaction among the Chinese public “makes us feel that our motherland is very strong and gives us confidence that the return of Taiwan is the irresistible trend.”

Liu Bolin, a high school student visiting the island, said that China “is a strong country and will not allow anyone to offend its territory.”

His mother, Zheng Zhidan, was somewhat more cautious.

“We are citizens and we hope to live in peace,” Cheng said. “We must live in peace with each other.”

China’s insistence that Taiwan is its territory and its threat to use force to bring it under its control has been prominently featured in the ruling Communist Party’s propaganda, education system, and fully state-controlled media for more than seven decades since the two sides were divided into a civil society. 1949 war.

Taiwan residents overwhelmingly favor maintaining the status quo of de facto independence and reject China’s demands that the island unite with the mainland under communist control.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Friday morning that China sent military ships and warplanes across the middle line of the Taiwan Strait, bypassing the unofficial buffer zone between China and Taiwan for decades.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobu Kishi said five of the missiles launched by China since the start of military exercises on Thursday landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone off the southernmost island of Hatruma. He said Japan has protested the missile landings in China, describing them as “serious threats to Japan’s national security and the safety of the Japanese people.”

Japan’s Defense Ministry later said it believed four more missiles launched from the Fujian coast in southeast China had flown over Taiwan.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday that Chinese military exercises targeting Taiwan pose a “serious problem” that threatens regional peace and security.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China’s actions are in line with “international law and practice,” although she did not provide any evidence.

“For the EEZ, China and Japan have not implemented the demarcation of the maritime boundary in the relevant waters, so there is no such thing as Japan’s EEZ,” Hua told reporters at a daily briefing.

In Tokyo, where Pelosi is wrapping up her Asian trip, she said China can’t stop US officials visit Taiwan. Speaking after breakfast with Pelosi and her congressional delegation, Kishida said the missile launches should be “stopped immediately.”

China said it had summoned European diplomats in the country to protest statements from the Group of Seven industrialized nations and the European Union criticizing Chinese military exercises surrounding Taiwan.

On Friday, its foreign ministry said Vice Minister Deng Li had lodged “official protests” over what he called “brutal interference in China’s internal affairs”.

China will “prevent the country from dividing with the strongest determination, by all means and at any cost,” Ding said.

The ministry said that the meeting took place on Thursday evening, but it did not mention any information about the countries that participated. Earlier on Thursday, China canceled the foreign ministers meeting With Japan to protest the G7 statement that there is no justification for the exercises.

The two ministers are attending a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia.

China bolstered the outside support it received for its response to Pelosi’s visit, particularly from sister authoritarian states such as Russia, Syria and North Korea.

China had earlier summoned US Ambassador Nicholas Burns to protest Pelosi’s visit. The spokesman left Taiwan on Wednesday after meeting Tsai and hold other public events. I traveled to South Korea and then Japan. Both countries host US military bases and could be drawn into a conflict involving Taiwan.

The Chinese exercise includes forces from the navy, air force, missile force, strategic support force and logistics support force, according to Xinhua.

They are believed to be the largest geographically close to Taiwan and the closest in proximity – 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the island.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken described Friday’s exercises as a “major escalation” He said he urged Beijing to back off.

US law requires the government to treat threats to Taiwan, including blockades, as “extremely troubling” matters.

These exercises are an echo of the last major Chinese military exercises aimed at intimidating Taiwan’s leaders and voters in 1995 and 1996.

Taiwan put its military on high alert and conducted civil defense exercises, but the mood remained calm on Friday. Flights have been canceled Or it was diverted and the fishermen stayed in port to avoid Chinese exercises.

In the northern port of Keelung, Lu Chuan Hsiung, 63, was enjoying a morning swim on Thursday, saying he wasn’t worried.

“Everyone should want money, not bullets,” Lu said.

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Associated Press writer Eileen Knickmeyer in Washington, DC, contributed to this report.

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