China halts climate, military and other dialogue with U.S. over Pelosi's Taiwan visit

Taiwan Air Force Mirage fighter jets taxi on a runway at an airbase in Hsinchu, Taiwan, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. China says it summoned European diplomats in the country to protest statements issued by the Group of Seven nations and the European Union criticizing threatening Chinese military exercises surrounding Taiwan. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)
Taiwanese air force fighter jets taxi on a runway at an air base in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on Friday. (Johnson Lai / Associated Press)

China on Friday said it is canceling or suspending dialogue with the U.S. on a range of issues, including climate change, 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 Pelosi’s visit to the island it claims as its territory. China on Thursday launched threatening military exercises in six zones 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 Chinese 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.

Dialogue and exchanges between China and the U.S., particularly on military matters and economic exchanges, have generally been halting at best. Fighting climate change and trade in illegal drugs such as fentanyl were, however, areas where they had found common cause, and Beijing’s suspension of cooperation could significantly impede efforts on those issues.

China said Friday that more than 100 warplanes and 10 warships have taken part in the live-fire military drills surrounding Taiwan over the last two days, while announcing mainly symbolic sanctions against Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and her family over her visit to Taiwan.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Friday that fighters, bombers, destroyers and frigates were all used in what it called “joint blockage operations.”

China’s insistence that Taiwan is its territory and its threat to use force to bring it under its control have featured highly in ruling Communist Party propaganda, the education system and the entirely state-controlled media for more than seven decades since the sides were divided amid civil war in 1949.

Taiwan residents overwhelmingly favor maintaining the status quo of de facto independence and reject China’s demands that the island unify with the mainland under Communist control.

On Friday morning, China sent military ships and warplanes across the mid-line of the Taiwan Strait, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said, crossing what had for decades been an unofficial buffer zone between China and Taiwan.

In Tokyo, where Pelosi is winding up her Asia trip, she said China could not stop U.S. officials from visiting Taiwan.

China said it summoned European diplomats in the country to protest statements issued by the Group of 7 industrialized nations and the European Union criticizing the Chinese military exercises surrounding Taiwan. The Foreign Ministry said the meeting was held Thursday night but gave no information on which countries participated.

China has promoted the overseas support it has received for its response to Pelosi’s visit, mainly from fellow authoritarian states such as Russia, Syria and North Korea.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.