China takes countermeasures against US after Pelosi's Taiwan visit

A handout photo. US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends a meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office in Taipei, Taiwan, on August 3.
PHOTO: Reuters via Taiwan Presidential Office

BEIJING - China on Friday (Aug 5) announced that it would suspend co-operation with the United States on a range of issues, including talks on climate change, as it continues to take retaliatory measures following US Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.

The Chinese foreign ministry said it was taking these countermeasures in the light of Mrs Pelosi's "insistence on visiting Taiwan in disregard to China's strong opposition and solemn representations". 

The measures will end talks on the crucial issue of climate change, as well as co-operation on issues including drug control, combating transnational crime, and repatriation of illegal immigrants. 

Also scrapped are dialogue between leaders of Chinese and US military theatres, working level meetings between the two countries' defence ministries, and a consultation mechanism on maritime military safety. 

Beijing's latest action will put to an end, at least temporarily, the few areas of co-operation remaining between the two powers, plunging relations to a new low. 

It has also imposed sanctions on Mrs Pelosi and her immediate family members, although it did not provide details on what this entails. 

The visit of Mrs Pelosi, the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, has infuriated Beijing, who sees it as a severe provocation and further proof of the hollowing out of Washington's one-China policy. 

Beijing views Taiwan as a renegade province that needs to be reunified with the mainland, and has not ruled out the use of force to do so. 

China on Friday pressed on with its largest-ever military exercises encircling Taiwan, despite widespread criticism from the US, European Union and Japan, and as flights were cancelled in and out of Taipei. 

The People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command said in a brief statement that it continued to conduct "live-fire exercises" in the airspace and seas to the north, south-west and east of Taiwan, testing the combat capabilities of its forces. 

Chinese military experts say the four-days of military drills, which will end on Sunday, are meant to simulate a blockade and possible future invasion of Taiwan. 

A Chinese military official told state broadcaster CCTV that part of these exercises had for the first time featured the launch of missiles directly over Taiwan. 

The drills have involved more than 100 aircraft, including fighter jets and bombers, and over 10 warships, said the Eastern Theatre Command. 

They have featured some of China's latest military hardware, including the J-20 stealth fighter and DF-17 hypersonic missile, according to Chinese state media. 

The Chinese foreign ministry also said on Friday that it had summoned the ambassadors and senior diplomats from some European countries, Japan and Canada to lodge "solemn representations" over a statement released by the Group of Seven (G-7) nations. 

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The G-7 had called on China to resolve differences by peaceful means and said China's military actions risked "increasing tensions and destabilising the region". 

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is in Phnom Penh for meetings with foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said on Thursday evening that the G-7 statement was "a piece of waste paper". 

Pointing to the continuing fallout from Mrs Pelosi's visit, Professor Zhu Feng, dean of the Institute of International Relations at Nanjing University, said Beijing's move to cancel a raft of co-operation mechanisms with the US shows that bilateral relations are in a new deep freeze. 

The visit has caused "serious damage" to bilateral relations between the US and China, just weeks after presidents from both countries held a lengthy phone discussion, he said. 

"This (deep freeze) in relations will last for awhile. China wants to take this opportunity to clearly stress to the US that its actions on Taiwan are unacceptable," he said. 

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.