WASHINGTON (AP) — China declared Friday it was stopping all dialogue with the United States on major issues over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan visit, including crucial climate cooperation between the two nations that led to the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. The White House summoned China's ambassador to protest what it called China's “irresponsible” actions since the visit.
China's declaration adds to rapidly escalating tensions that followed Pelosi’s visit and the Chinese response with military exercises off Taiwan, including firing missiles that splashed down in surrounding waters. White House spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that China’s military actions were of “concern to Taiwan, to us, and to our partners around the world."
A joint U.S.-China deal to fight climate change struck by Xi and then-President Barack Obama in November of 2014 has frequently been hailed as a turning point that led to the breakthrough Paris agreement in which nearly every nation in the world pledged to try to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases. Then seven years later during climate talks in Glasgow, another U.S.-China deal helped smooth over bumps to another international climate deal.
China's measures, which come amid cratering relations between Beijing and Washington, are the latest in a promised series of steps intended to punish the U.S. for allowing the visit to the island it claims as its own territory, to be annexed by force if necessary. China on Thursday launched threatening military exercises in six zones just off Taiwan's coasts, and they will run 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 U.S. and Chinese regional commanders and defense department heads would be canceled, along with talks on military maritime safety.
Cooperation on returning illegal immigrants, criminal investigations, transnational crime, illegal drugs and climate change will be suspended, the ministry said.
The actions were taken because Pelosi visited Taiwan “in disregard of 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, although Pelosi is head of the legislative branch of government and Biden had no authority to prevent her visit.
Kirby said that senior U.S. officials have been meeting regularly with their Chinese counterparts over the dispute. Calling China's actions “provocative,” Kirby said the Biden administration condemned China's military maneuvers as irresponsible and “at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability and across the Taiwan Strait.”
“We also made clear that the United States is prepared for what Beijing chooses to do,” he saud,
China's actions come ahead of a key congress of the ruling Communist Party later this year at which President Xi Jinping is expected to obtain a third five-year term as party leader. With the economy stumbling, the party has stoked nationalism and issued 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 warplanes and 10 warships have taken part in the live-fire military drills surrounding Taiwan over the past two days, while announcing mainly symbolic sanctions against Pelosi and her family.
The Rocket Force also fired projectiles over Taiwan into the Pacific, military officers told state media, in a major ratcheting up of China’s threats to attack and invade the island.
The drills, which Xinhua described as being held on an “unprecedented scale," are China's most strident response to Pelosi's visit. The speaker is the highest-ranking U.S. politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years.