China announced Friday it was ending all contact with the United States on major issues — including crucial climate cooperation that led to the international 2015 Paris accord — as tensions and public rebukes ratcheted higher over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
China’s move to freeze key lines of communication adds to a rapid souring of relations from Pelosi’s visit and from the Chinese response with military exercises off Taiwan, including firing missiles that splashed down in surrounding waters.
The White House summoned China’s ambassador, Qin Gang, late Thursday to tell him that the military actions were of “concern to Taiwan, to us and to our partners around the world,” said spokesman John Kirby.
Ominously, experts in China-U.S. relations warned that China’s diplomatic and military moves appeared to go beyond retaliatory measures for the visit and could open a new, more openly hostile era, and a more uncertain time for Taiwan’s democratic government.
China-U.S. relations are “in a downward spiral,” said Bonnie Glaser, head of the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund.
“And I think that China is likely to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait in ways that are going to be harmful to Taiwan and are going to be disadvantageous to the United States,” Glaser said. [Continue reading…]
China touted its military exercises around Taiwan as proof of its ability to blockade the self-ruled island in the event of a war, as the operations in response to a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi entered a second day.
At least 68 Chinese warplanes and 13 warships carried out maneuvers off Taiwan’s coast on Friday, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said. During the operation, the ministry said some of the aircraft and ships sent by China’s military crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait, a notional boundary that Taipei says demarcates areas of de facto control.
The flurry of military sorties Beijing flew Friday—setting a record of such activity since Taiwan’s military began disclosing the data in September 2020—came after China encircled Taiwan with rocket and ballistic-missile fire a day earlier. Chinese military experts and Chinese state media described the four-day exercise as unprecedented. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Cambodia for a regional meeting, called them a “significant escalation.” [Continue reading…]