BEIJING: China on Friday said it is cancelling or suspending dialogue with the United States on a range of issues from climate change to military relations and anti-drug efforts in retaliation for a visit this week to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The 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 that it says will run through Sunday.
Missiles have also been fired over Taiwan, defense officials told state media. China opposes the self-governing island having its own contacts with foreign governments, but its response to the Pelosi visit has been unusually vociferous.
The 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.
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 U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her family over her visit to Taiwan earlier this week.
The official Xinhua News Agency said Friday that fighters, bombers, destroyers and frigates were all used in what it called “joint blockage operations.”
The military’s Eastern Theater Command also fired new versions of missiles it said hit unidentified targets in the Taiwan Strait “with precision.”
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.
Dialogue and exchanges between China and the U.S., particularly on military matters and economic exchanges, have generally been halting at best. Climate change and fighting trade in illegal drugs such as fentanyl were, however, areas where they had found common cause, and Beijing’s suspension of cooperation could have significant implications for efforts to achieve progress in those issues.
China and the United States are the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 climate polluters, together producing nearly 40% of all fossil-fuel emissions. Their top climate diplomats, John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua, maintained a cordial relationship that dated back to the Paris climate accord, which was made possible by a breakthrough negotiated among the two and others.
China under Kerry’s prodding committed at last year’s U.N. global climate summit in Glasgow to working with the U.S. “with urgency” to cut climate-wrecking emissions, but Kerry was unable to persuade it to significantly speed up China’s move away from coal.
On the Chinese coast across from Taiwan, tourists gathered Friday to try to catch a glimpse of any military aircraft heading toward the exercise area.