China halts ties with US on range of critical issues including climate crisis
China has halted ties with the US on a range of critical issues, from talks on the climate crisis to dialogue between their militaries, following the visit to Taiwan by the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
The announcement of the counter-measures came as Beijing conducted military drills surrounding the island of Taiwan. Earlier, China announced sanctions against Pelosi and her direct family members. Beijing called Pelosi’s visit “vicious and provocative actions”.
The halted interactions ranged from climate talks, to dialogues between the leaders of Chinese and US military theatres, to the working meeting of Chinese and US defence ministries and consultation mechanism on maritime military safety between the countries.
Tensions are running high in the Taiwan strait. The military drills have forced a number of vessels to reroute their journeys, causing disruptions to regional – and global – economies. On average, 240 commercial ships have passed through the maritime zones each day over the past week, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence data.
Earlier, the US condemned China’s launch of ballistic missiles around Taiwan during live-fire exercises as an “overreaction”, as a number of Chinese ships and planes again crossed the median line.
Qin Gang, Chinese Ambassador to the United States, has said the US “must bear full responsibility for the current situation across the Taiwan Straits”, reports Chinese state media.
China’s actions in the waters around Taiwan are “necessary and legitimate measures to deter separatist forces on the island, safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. With prior warnings, the Chinese side matches its words with actions,” Qin was quoted as saying by Global Times.
Beijing is freezing its cooperation with Washington on global warming, but experts are hoping that, for the sake of humanity, the cold spell between the world’s two largest emitters is only temporary, reports Agence France-Presse.
AFP has the following analysis:
The unraveling relationship comes not long after China and the US announced a surprise agreement to strengthen climate action at the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in 2021...
IPCC author Francois Gemenne called China’s decision a “total disaster for the climate... comparable to the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement.”
Former president Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement, but his successor Joe Biden returned the country to the accord in 2021.
The temporary US withdrawal has nonetheless been accompanied by backtracking on domestic and foreign climate policy, experts say.
China’s announcement, on the other hand, is “certainly not a withdrawal from the world stage on climate issues or a rejection of climate action,” David Waskow, director of the World Resources Institute’s international climate initiative, told AFP.
Mohamed Adow, founder of the Power Shift Africa energy think tank echoed that sentiment, adding that “breaking off diplomacy doesn’t mean China is backtracking on its commitments,” particularly as, “in many respects, China is way ahead of the US when it comes to action on climate change.
Biden has pledged to cut US emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
But his ambitions have been thwarted by failure to push green energy projects and climate initiatives through Congress, although some progress has been made in recent days.
For its part, China, which is the leading emitter of greenhouse gases in absolute value but far behind the US in emissions per capita, has committed to reaching peak emissions in 2030 and carbon neutrality in 2060.”
Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Saturday that it had fired flares late on Friday to warn away seven drones flying over its outlying Kinmen Islands and to warn unidentified aircraft flying over its outlying Matsu Islands, Reuters has reported.
The ministry said troops were on high alert in both areas, which lie just off the coast of mainland China.
US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa have urged China to immediately cease military exercises.
In a joint statement released after they met in Phnom Penh on the margins of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, they “expressed their concern about the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) recent actions that gravely affect international peace and stability, including the use of large-scale military exercises.”
They also “condemned the PRC’s launch of ballistic missiles, five of which the Japanese government reported landed in its exclusive economic zones, raising tension and destabilizing the region.”
The statement added: “There is no change in the respective one China policies, where applicable, and basic positions on Taiwan of Australia, Japan, or the United States.”
North Korea has denounced US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “the worst destroyer of international peace and stability”, after she expressed her commitment to achieving its denuclearisation.
During a visit to South Korea this week, Pelosi and her South Korean counterpart, National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo, said in a joint statement that they “agreed to support the efforts of the two governments to achieve practical denuclearisation and peace through international cooperation and diplomatic dialogue, based on the strong and extended deterrence against the North.”
North Korean state media KCNA said Pelosi’s remarks were part of a US scheme to escalate tensions in the Korean peninsula, Reuters has reported. KCNA also said Pelosi was trying to justify hostile American policy against North Korea and support US arms buildup.
“Pelosi, the worst destroyer of international peace and stability, had... incurred the wrath of the Chinese people for her recent junket to Taiwan,” the KCNA statement said, citing Jo Yong Sam, director general of the Department of Press and Information at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry.
“The US will have to pay dearly for all the sources of trouble spawned by her wherever she went.”
It’s just past 6am in Taipei. Here’s where things stand:
China’s decision to suspend bilateral talks on climate change with the United States does not punish Washington, “it punishes the world,” the US special envoy on climate change, John Kerry, said on Friday. “No country should withhold progress on existential transnational issues because of bilateral differences,” said the former US secretary of state, who is currently the Biden administration’s top climate diplomat.
Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has condemned Chinese military drills near Taiwan, saying that it is a threat to regional security. Speaking after a meeting with the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in Tokyo on Friday, Kishida said China’s live-fire exercises near the self-governed island must “stop immediately”. Beijing announced four days of drills that are expected to finish on Sunday. The drills are a “serious problem that impacts our national security and the safety of our citizens,” Kishida told reporters.
The US said on Friday that China’s decision to halt cooperation in a number of critical areas, including climate change, over Taiwan was “fundamentally irresponsible.” “We believe that this is fundamentally irresponsible,” the national security council spokesperson, John Kirby, told reporters about the Chinese move.
On Friday, the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, walked out of a plenary session just as Japan’s top diplomat, Yoshimasa Hayashi, spoke. Wang called a rare news conference late on Friday, where he accused the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, of spreading misinformation. He called Nancy Pelosi’s trip a “contemptible farce” and stressed China’s military response to it was “firm, forceful and appropriate”.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Friday the island’s military had dispatched aircraft and ships and deployed land-based missile systems to monitor ships and aircraft that briefly crossed the Taiwan strait median line. On Thursday, China fired multiple missiles into waters surrounding Taiwan. The defence ministry later said the missiles were high in the atmosphere and posed no threat. It gave no details of their flight paths, citing intelligence concerns.
China has “historically been a victim of foreign aggression”, its foreign ministry spokesperson said. In a series of tweets on Friday, Hua Chunying said: “China had historically been a victim of foreign aggression. Today, the US still grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs and attempts to undermine China’s sovereignty and security from time to time.”
The Taiwanese defense ministry said that Taiwan scrambled jets on Friday to warn away 49 Chinese aircraft in its air defence zone, according to Reuters. All 49 Chinese aircraft crossed the Taiwan strait median line, the ministry said in a statement.
That’s it from me, Maya Yang, as I hand the blog over to my colleagues in Australia who will continue bringing you the latest updates. Thank you.
China’s decision to suspend bilateral talks on climate change with the United States does not punish Washington, “it punishes the world,” the US special envoy on climate change, John Kerry, said on Friday, Reuters reports.
“No country should withhold progress on existential transnational issues because of bilateral differences,” said the former US secretary of state, who is currently the Biden administration’s top climate diplomat.
“Suspending cooperation doesn’t punish the United States; it punishes the world, particularly the developing world,” he said.
Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has condemned Chinese military drills near Taiwan, saying that it is a threat to regional security.
The Guardian’s Tokyo correspondent Justin McCurry reports:
Speaking after a meeting with the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in Tokyo on Friday, Kishida said China’s live-fire exercises near the self-governed island must “stop immediately”. Beijing announced four days of drills that are expected to finish on Sunday.
The drills are a “serious problem that impacts our national security and the safety of our citizens,” Kishida told reporters.
China is Japan’s biggest trading partner, but the countries have traded verbal blows over the Senkakus – uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that are administered by Japan but claimed by China, where they are known as the Diaoyu. While Tokyo is keen not to antagonise Beijing, its role in hosting tens of thousands of US troops –most of them based on the southern island of Okinawa – could see Japan playing a key role in any crisis in the Taiwan Strait.
Five Chinese missiles appeared to have landed in Japan’s EEZ off Hateruma, an island far south of Japan’s main islands, with four believed to have flown over Taiwan’s main island. The zone extends up to 200 nautical miles (370km) from the country’s coastline, beyond the limits of its territorial waters.