White House summons Chinese ambassador to reprimand over Taiwan response

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The White House on Thursday summoned the Chinese ambassador to condemn Beijing’s escalating actions against Taiwan and reiterate that the United States does not want a crisis in the region, following a visit to the island by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Tensions sharply escalated this week in the Taiwan Strait.

“After China’s overnight actions, we called out” [People’s Republic of China] Ambassador Qin Gang to the White House to demarcate to him about the provocative actions of the People’s Republic of China,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in a statement to The Washington Post. “We condemned the military actions of the PRC, which are irresponsible and contrary to our long-standing goal to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” A démarche is a protest lodged through diplomatic channels.

China’s show of force against Taiwan on Thursday included firing missiles into the sea and threatening the island’s territorial waters. Taiwan said China fired 11 ballistic missiles into waters off its northeastern and southwestern coasts, and Japanese officials said five Chinese missiles landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

The White House also reiterated to Qin that it wants to keep all lines of communication open and that nothing has changed in the United States’ one-China policy, which states that there is one Chinese entity and no independent enclaves. But the White House also stressed that it found Beijing’s actions unacceptable and would stand up for its values ​​in the Indo-Pacific.

The meeting, not previously reported, was between Qin and Kurt Campbell, deputy aide to President Biden and coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs on the National Security Council, according to a White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity with details of share a private conversation.

China’s military actions on Thursday raised tensions in the Taiwan Strait to the highest levels in decades, raising fears of a dangerous miscalculation in one of the world’s most fraught geopolitical flashpoints. Pelosi has openly expressed anger at Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which it considers part of its territory pending unification, and relations between the US and China were already tense over disputes over trade, human rights and other issues.

Pelosi: Why I visit Taiwan

The White House referred Qin to a statement from the Group of Seven Industrialized Democracies, Kirby said, stressing that China should not use Pelosi’s visit as a pretext for aggressive military action in the Taiwan Strait. The White House also expressed support for a statement by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, calling on all sides to de-escalate tensions and engage in dialogue.

“We have made it clear once again, as we have done privately at the highest level and publicly: nothing has changed in our One China policy. We have also made it clear that the United States is prepared for whatever Beijing chooses to do,” Kirby said. “We will not seek and want a crisis. At the same time, we will not refrain from operating in the seas and skies of the Western Pacific, in accordance with international law, as we have done for decades – supporting Taiwan and defending a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

China’s state broadcaster CCTV said the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has conducted long-range exercises and “precision strikes” on eastern parts of the strait. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the PLA fired 11 Dongfeng ballistic missiles.

The White House attempted to de-escalate tensions with China prior to and during Pelosi’s visit, which the speaker undertook against the government’s will. White House officials warned earlier this week that China was preparing for possible aggressive actions that could continue well after Pelosi’s visit.

Virtually all senior members of Biden’s national security team had privately expressed deep reservations about the trip and timing, the White House official said. They were especially concerned because tensions between the US and China are already high, and Washington is asking China to cooperate in the war in Ukraine and other matters.

Top White House officials defended Pelosi’s right to travel to Taiwan, both publicly and to their counterparts in China, yet some of them still didn’t think the trip was a good idea, the official said.

China has spent years trying to diplomatically isolate Taiwan. The Chinese Communist Party claims the island, a self-governing democracy of more than 23 million people, as its territory, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping has pledged to “reunite” Taiwan with China, by force if necessary.

Chinese ambassador: why we opposed Pelosi’s visit

But Pelosi doubled down on Thursday, saying China would fail to bully the island.

“They may try to stop Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they won’t isolate Taiwan,” Pelosi said in Tokyo, the final stop of her tour. “They don’t follow our itinerary. The Chinese government does not do that.”

At a news conference Thursday, Kirby said the United States is responding to China’s actions.

The United States will operate standard air and sea transportation across the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks, he said, and will take “further steps” to stand behind its allies in the region, including Japan, although he did not specify what those actions goods. would be. The aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and its battle group will remain near Taiwan to monitor the situation, Kirby added.

Lily Kuo contributed to this report.

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