Pelosi Taiwan trip: China halts military and climate dialogue with US
In response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China announced on Friday (August 5) it was halting dialogue with the United States in a number of areas, including between theater-level military commanders and on climate change.
China’s foreign ministry said it was also suspending exchanges with Washington on countering cross-border crime and drug trafficking, all moves Washington called “irresponsible,” the Arabnews reported, citing Reuters.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington has repeatedly made clear to Beijing it does not seek a crisis over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week during a congressional tour of Asia.
“There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalatory military response,” he told a news conference on the sidelines of ASEAN regional meetings in Cambodia, adding, “Now, they’ve taken dangerous acts to a new level.”
Blinken emphasised that the United States would not take actions to provoke a crisis, but it would continue to support regional allies and conduct standard air and maritime transit through the Taiwan Strait.
“We will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” he said.
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby countered that China’s move to suspend some communication channels was “fundamentally irresponsible.”
Kirby told reporters: “There’s nothing here for the United States to rectify. The Chinese can go a long way to taking the tensions down simply by stopping these provocative military exercises and ending the rhetoric.”
China has not mentioned a suspension of military talks at the senior-most levels, such as with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley.
While those talks have been infrequent, officials have said they are important to have in the case of an emergency or accident.
Kirby said it was not atypical for China to shut down military talks at times of tension, but that “not all channels” between the two countries’ military leaders had been cut off.
The Pentagon said China was overreacting and that Washington was still open to building crisis communication mechanisms.
Acting Pentagon spokesman Todd Breasseale said: “Part of this overreaction has been strictly limiting its defense engagements when any responsible state would recognize that we need them now the most.”