China announced on Friday that it was suspending dialogue with the United States in a number of areas, including between strategic-level military commanders and talks on the environment, further escalating the situation after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan .
China’s Foreign Ministry said it was also suspending cooperation with Washington on preventing cross-border crime and drug trafficking, areas where, in addition to environmental change, US officials see opportunities for cooperation.
China has reacted angrily after Ms Pelosi visited the self-governing island that Beijing considers its sovereign territory, marking the highest-level visit by US officials in 25 years. In response, China launched military exercises in the seas and airspace around Taiwan on Thursday. The drills, the largest ever conducted by China in the Taiwan Strait, are scheduled to continue until noon on Sunday.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Friday that a total of 68 military aircraft and 13 Chinese navy ships were conducting exercises in the sensitive Taiwan Strait. Some of them, they said, even crossed part of the unofficial neutral zone that separates the two sides, a move the ministry described as “damaging the status quo.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington has repeatedly made clear to Beijing that it does not seek a crisis over Ms Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which took place on Wednesday during a tour of the US congressional delegation to Asia.
“There is no justification for this extreme and escalating military response,” Mr Blinken told a news conference while attending the ASEAN Regional Forum in Cambodia. He added, “now, they have taken the dangerous acts to a new level.”
Mr. Blinken stressed that the United States will not take action to provoke a crisis, but will continue to support regional allies and conduct standard air and sea movements through the Taiwan Strait.
“We will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” he said.
The White House summoned Chinese ambassador Qin Gang on Thursday to condemn the Chinese government’s actions. This followed Beijing’s call for US Ambassador Nicholas Burns earlier this week for Ms Pelosi to visit Taiwan.
State Department representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on China’s suspension of talks and cooperation in several areas.
The Chinese statement did not say whether it would suspend military talks at the highest levels, such as with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley.
Although these talks have been rare, officials have said it is important to have talks in the event of an emergency or accident.
Beijing announced separately that it would impose personal sanctions on Ms. Pelosi and her family as part of the Chinese response to her visit to Taiwan, which Beijing described as a “reverse” and “provocative” move.
During the visit to Japan, Mrs. Pelosi said that her trip to Asia was never intended to change the status quo of the region.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said the island’s military had dispatched aircraft and ships and deployed land-based missile systems to monitor ships and aircraft that briefly crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait.
On Thursday, China launched several missiles into the waters around Taiwan.
Japan’s defense ministry, which is following the drills, initially reported that four of the missiles flew over Taiwan’s capital, which is unprecedented.
Later, Taiwan’s defense ministry said the missiles were high in the atmosphere and posed no threat.
Responding to the Chinese drills, President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan would not provoke conflicts but would resolutely protect its sovereignty and national security.
Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Communists seized power in Beijing after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) in a civil war, leading to the establishment of a Kuomintang-led government in Taiwan.
Speaking after the meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, the Japanese Prime Minister stated that he had “informed Mrs. Pelosi that the fact that China’s ballistic missiles had landed near Japanese waters threatens our national security and that Japan had strongly condemned the actions of such,” Kishida said.
China’s foreign ministry said it had summoned the ambassador to Japan and a Canadian diplomat in Beijing on Thursday over what it called a “wrong” statement by the Group of Seven (G7) countries on Taiwan, and had also made complaints to EU envoys.
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