WASHINGTON — China on Friday severed contact with the United States on vital issues — including military matters and crucial climate cooperation — amid mounting concerns that the Communist government’s hostile reaction to the president’s visit Chamber Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan could signal a long-lasting and more aggressive approach to her United States. rival and the autonomous island.
China’s decision to freeze key lines of communication has added to the deterioration in relations following Pelosi’s visit and the Chinese response with military exercises off Taiwan, including firing missiles that crashed into the waters. surrounding.
After the White House summoned Chinese Ambassador Qin Gang Thursday night to protest the military drills, White House spokesman John Kirby on Friday condemned the decision to end an important dialogue with the United States as “irresponsible”.
The White House spokesman slammed China’s “provocative” actions since Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, which China claims is its territory. But Kirby noted that some communication channels remain open between the two countries’ military officials. He repeated daily assurances that the United States had not changed its policy towards the communist mainland and the self-governing island.
“Ultimately, we will continue our efforts to continue to open lines of communication that protect our interests and our values,” Kirby said. He declined to talk about any damage to long-term relations between China and the United States, calling it a discussion for later.
Taiwan has put its military on high alert and held civil defense drills, but the general mood remained calm on Friday. Flights were canceled or diverted and fishermen remained in port to avoid Chinese maneuvers.
On the Chinese coast opposite Taiwan, tourists gathered to try to see military planes.
A minister at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Jing Quan, told reporters that Pelosi’s mission to support Taiwan’s democratic government had “serious impact on the political foundations of China-US relations, gravely damaged to the sovereignty and (territorial) territory of China”. integrity and… undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. “
In the long term, a far more adversarial relationship between China and the United States threatens a balance in which the governments of Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping have squabbled over human rights, trade, competition and governance. countless other issues, but avoided direct conflict and maintained occasional high-level contact on other issues, including reducing climate-damaging emissions.
A joint US-China agreement to fight climate change reached by Xi and then-President Barack Obama in November 2014 is seen as a watershed that led to the historic 2015 Paris Agreement in which nearly all nations around the world have pledged to try to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases. Seven years later, at the climate talks in Glasgow, another U.S.-China deal helped iron out the hurdles for another international climate deal.
China and the United States are the 1st and 2nd largest climate polluters in the world, together producing almost 40% of all fossil fuel emissions.
Worryingly, China-US relations experts have warned that China’s diplomatic and military moves appear to go beyond retaliatory measures for the visit and could usher in a new, more openly hostile era and more uncertain period for the democratic government of Taiwan.
China-US relations are “in a downward spiral”, said Bonnie Glaser, Asia program manager at the German Marshall Fund.
“And I think China is likely to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait in a way that will be detrimental to Taiwan and disadvantageous to the United States,” Glaser said.
In recent years, other rounds of tensions between China and its neighbors over the Indian border, regional islands and the South China Sea have come to an end, with China asserting new territorial claims and enforcing them, a noted John Culver, a former national intelligence officer from East Asia, now a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. The same could happen now in Taiwan, Culver said. “So I don’t know how it ends. We’ve seen how it begins.”
China’s moves this week are the latest moves designed to punish the United States for allowing the visit to the island it claims as its own territory to be forcibly annexed if necessary. China launched menacing military exercises just off the coast of Taiwan on Thursday until Sunday.
Some missiles have been sent over Taiwan itself, Chinese officials have told state media – a significant increase in China’s threat to the island.
China regularly complains when Taiwan has direct contact with foreign governments, but its response to Pelosi’s visit – she was the highest ranking US official in 25 years – has been exceptionally strong.
This seems to derail a rare encouraging note – high-level in-person meetings between top officials in recent months, including defense chiefs at an Asia security conference in Singapore and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a Group of 20 meeting in Indonesia.
These talks were seen as steps in a positive direction in an otherwise poisoned relationship. Now the talks have been suspended even on the climate, where the envoys of the two countries had met several times.
China has not halted economic and trade talks, where it is counting on Biden to lift tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on imports from China.
On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry said dialogue between US and Chinese regional commanders and heads of defense departments would be canceled, along with talks on military maritime security. Cooperation on the return of illegal immigrants, criminal investigations, transnational crime, illicit drugs and climate change will be suspended, the ministry said.
China’s actions come ahead of a key congress of the ruling Communist Party later this year, at which President Xi is expected to secure a third five-year term as party leader. As the economy stumbles, the party has stoked nationalism and launched near-daily attacks on the government of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, which refuses to recognize Taiwan as part of China.
China said Friday that more than 100 fighter jets and 10 warships had taken part in live-fire military drills around Taiwan over the past two days. Additionally, mostly symbolic sanctions against Pelosi and her family were announced.
On China’s coast, fighter jets were heard flying overhead and photo tourists chanted, “Let’s take Taiwan back,” gazing out into the blue waters of the Taiwan Strait from scenic Pingtan Island. popular in the Chinese province of Fujian.
Pelosi’s visit stirred emotions among the Chinese public, and the government’s response “makes us feel that our homeland is very powerful and gives us confidence that Taiwan’s return is the irresistible trend,” said Wang Lu, a tourist. from the neighboring province of Zhejiang.
China is a “powerful country and it will not allow anyone to offend its own territory,” said Liu Bolin, a high school student visiting the island.
China’s insistence that Taiwan is its territory and its threat to use force to regain control have been featured in statements by the Communist Party, the state-controlled education system and media for more than seven decades. since the parties were divided in the middle of the civil war in 1949.
Taiwan residents overwhelmingly favor maintaining the status quo of de facto independence and reject China’s demands for the island to unify with the Communist-controlled mainland.
Beyond Taiwan, five of the missiles fired by China landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone off Hateruma, an island in the southernmost part of Japan’s main islands, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo said. Kishi. He said Japan had protested the missiles to China, calling them “serious threats to Japan’s national security and the safety of the Japanese people.”
In Tokyo, where Pelosi ends her Asia trip, she said China could not stop US officials from visiting Taiwan.
AP writer David Rising reported from Phnom Penh. Writers AP Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo, and Seth Borenstein and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed.