China announced the suspension of its cooperation with the United States on a number of major issues, in response to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.
In defiance of Chinese threats, Pelosi arrived Tuesday evening in Taiwan, becoming the most senior US official to visit the island in years, angering China, which in turn announced major military operations around Taiwan, which China says is affiliated with it, and pledges to restore it by force if necessary.
For its part, Taiwan declares itself a democratic and self-governing island.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry vowed to suspend climate change talks and military dialogue, as well as cooperation on crime, drugs and illegal immigration with the United States.
Beijing also imposed unspecified sanctions on Pelosi and her family, without disclosing the nature of the sanctions. Beijing described the US official’s visit as “interference in China’s affairs and an insult to its sovereignty.”
Pelosi defended her trip to Taiwan, saying Friday that Washington “will not allow” China to isolate the island of Taiwan.
Since Thursday, China has surrounded Taiwan in a series of massive military exercises, which have faced criticism from the United States and other Western allies.
The United States and China are the world’s largest polluters, and last year they pledged to work together through regular meetings to solve the climate change crisis.
However, it seems that the agreements between the two countries are under threat as relations between them deteriorate to their lowest levels in years.
For its part, Taiwan criticized Beijing’s response to Pelosi’s visit. The island’s prime minister, Su Tsengchang, called on the allies to push for calm.
“We did not expect our nearest neighbors to show their strength on our borders and risk endangering the world’s busiest waterway by carrying out military exercises,” Zhang told reporters.
Pelosi, who arrived in Japan as part of an Asian tour, did not comment on the Chinese military exercises, but said that US politicians should be able to visit Taiwan freely.
“They may prevent Taiwan from visiting or participating in activities abroad, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us from traveling to it. We will not allow them to isolate Taiwan,” she added.
The US official noted that the purpose of her visit was not to “change the status quo” in the region.
Pelosi was asked if the visit would serve her political career, and she replied, “It’s not about me, it’s about them.”
The US official described the island as “one of the freest countries in the world”, and said it was “proud” of its work to raise concerns and concerns about violations of trade, human rights and other laws in China.
Pelosi, 82, arrived in Japan on Thursday from South Korea, another US ally in the region. There she visited the border with North Korea.
This is Pelosi’s first visit to Japan since 2015, and on Friday she met Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who said Japan had called for an “immediate cessation of military exercises.”
Pelosi held talks with Japan’s House of Representatives Speaker, Hiroyuki Kosuda, and will meet with members of US forces in Japan.
Tokyo said five Chinese missiles were believed to have landed in its economic zone, four of which were presumed to have flown over the island of Taiwan.
The economic zone extends over 200 nautical miles from the coast of Japan beyond its territorial waters.
Kushida condemned the missile launch, describing it as a “serious problem that has an impact on our security and the safety of our citizens.”
The southern Japanese region of Okinawa is located close to Taiwan, and there are a number of small islands disputed between Tokyo and Beijing.
US President Joe Biden angered China on his visit to Japan when he said US forces would defend Taiwan if China tried to seize it by force.
But Biden and his team emphasized that the well-known US policy toward Taiwan has not changed. Washington supports the Taiwan government, but diplomatically it recognizes Beijing, not Taipei. It objects to the declaration of Taiwan independence, and at the same time rejects China’s control over it.
Pelosi said Friday that the United States was seeking to find a “floor of understanding” with China on human rights and climate change issues.
She added, “Our visit does not define the picture that should be in the relations between the United States and China; the issue is much larger than that. And we have to admit that we are required to work together in some areas.”