China stops climate, military ties over visit to Pelosi Taiwan

WASHINGTON (AP) — China on Friday said it would end all dialogue with the United States on key issues during House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, including crucial climate cooperation between the two countries that led to the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. The White House called on the Chinese ambassador to protest what it called China’s “irresponsible” actions since the visit.

China’s statement adds to the rapidly escalating tensions that followed Pelosi’s visit and China’s response with military exercises off Taiwan, including firing rockets that crashed into surrounding waters. White House spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that China’s military actions were “important to Taiwan, us and our partners around the world.”

A joint US-China deal to fight climate change, signed by Xi and then-President Barack Obama in November 2014, has often been hailed as a turning point leading to the Paris Breakthrough Agreement in which nearly every country in the world pledged to trying to limit the emission of heat-trapping gases. Seven years later, during climate talks in Glasgow, another agreement between the US and China helped smooth the hurdles to another international climate agreement.

China’s measures, stemming from tightening relations between Beijing and Washington, are the latest in a promised series of steps designed to punish the US for allowing visitors to visit the island it claims as its own territory. annexed by force if necessary. China began threatening military exercises in six zones just off the coast of Taiwan on Thursday, and will continue through Sunday.

Missiles have also been fired over Taiwan, Chinese officials told state media. China routinely opposes the self-governing island having its own contacts with foreign governments, but its response to the Pelosi visit has been unusually strong.

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, cross-border crime, illegal drugs and climate change will be suspended, the ministry said.

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The measures were taken because Pelosi visited Taiwan “without taking into account China’s strong opposition and serious representations,” the ministry said in a statement.

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

Kirby said senior US officials met regularly with their Chinese counterparts over the dispute. Kirby called China’s actions “provocative,” Kirby said the Biden administration condemned China’s military maneuvers as irresponsible and “contrary to our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability and across the Taiwan Strait.”

“We have also made it clear that the United States is prepared for whatever Beijing chooses to do,” he said.

China’s actions are ahead of a major ruling Communist Party congress later this year, where President Xi Jinping is expected to receive a third five-year term as party leader. With the economy stagnating, the party has fueled nationalism and carried out almost daily attacks on the government of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, which refuses to recognize Taiwan as part of China.

China said on Friday that more than 100 warplanes and 10 warships have participated in live-fire military exercises around Taiwan over the past two days, while announcing mostly symbolic sanctions against Pelosi and her family..

The Rocket Force also fired projectiles over Taiwan in the Pacific, military officers told state media, in a major boost to China’s threats to attack and invade the island.

The drills, which Xinhua said were held on an “unprecedented scale,” are China’s most strident response to Pelosi’s visit. The speaker is the most senior American politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years.

Dialogue and exchanges between China and the US, especially on military affairs and economic exchanges, have generally stalled at best. However, climate change and combating the trafficking of illicit drugs such as fentanyl were areas where they had found a common cause. Beijing’s suspension of cooperation could have a significant impact on efforts to make progress on these issues.

China and the United States are the number 1 and 2 climate polluters in the world, together producing almost 40% of all fossil fuel emissions. Their top climate diplomats, John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua, have maintained a cordial relationship dating back to the 2015 Paris Agreement, made possible by a breakthrough negotiated between the two and others.

China, spurred on by Kerry, pledged at the UN’s global climate summit in Glasgow last year to work “with the utmost urgency” with the US to reduce climate-destroying emissions, but Kerry was unable to convince China. that China would move away from coal significantly faster.

On the Chinese coast opposite Taiwan, tourists gathered on Friday to catch a glimpse of a military plane headed for the training area.

You could hear fighter jets flying overhead and tourists taking pictures chanting, “Let’s take back Taiwan,” looking out over the blue waters of the Taiwan Strait from Pingtan Island, a popular scenic spot in Fujian Province.

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

China is a “powerful country and it will not allow anyone to insult its own territory,” said Liu Bolin, a high school student visiting the island.

China’s insistence that Taiwan be its territory and its threat to use force to regain control has featured in statements by the ruling Communist Party, the education system, and the state-controlled media for more than seven decades since the parties took over in 1949. were divided during a civil war.

The people of Taiwan are overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining the status quo of de facto independence and reject China’s demand that the island unite with the mainland under communist control.

Five of the missiles China has fired since military exercises began Thursday have landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone near Hateruma, an island far south of Japan’s main islands, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said. He said Japan protested the missile landings to China as “serious threats to Japanese national security and the safety of the Japanese people”.

Japan’s defense ministry later said it believes four other missiles fired from Fujian’s southeast coast flew over Taiwan.

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

In Tokyo, where Pelosi ends her Asia trip, she said China can’t stop US officials on a visit to Taiwan. Kishida, who spoke to Pelosi and her congressional delegation after breakfast, said the rocket launches “must be stopped immediately”.

China said it had called on European diplomats in the country to protest statements by the Group of Seven industrialized countries and the European Union criticizing China’s military exercises around Taiwan.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the exercises a “significant escalation” on Friday. and said he has urged Beijing to withdraw.

Taiwan has been beefing up its military and organizing civilian defense exercises, but the general mood remained calm on Friday. Flights have been cancelled or diverted and fishermen have remained in port to avoid the Chinese exercises.

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AP writer David Rising reported from Phnom Penh. AP writers Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo, and Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed.

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