China ends military ties with US, sanctions Pelosi for Taiwan trip

Beijing announced on Friday that it would cancel phone calls between regional military commanders, defense meetings, discussions on maritime security and climate change. He also said he would end cooperation with the United States on efforts to combat drugs, returning illegal immigrants and transnational crime. Earlier, China took personal action against Pelosi, announcing sanctions against the speaker and her immediate family in response to what the Chinese Foreign Ministry called “blatant provocations”.

The unspecified sanctions, China’s latest retaliation for the brief trip to the self-governing island it claims as its own territory, came as Washington and its allies called for de-escalation.

The United States summoned the Chinese ambassador on Thursday to formally protest Beijing’s actions against Taiwan and reiterate that Washington does not want to stoke a crisis in the region, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed. . The Washington Post first reported news of the reprimand.

Pelosi, in Japan for the final leg of his Asia tour, said China would not be allowed to succeed in its effort to isolate Taiwan.

“They may try to prevent Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us from going there,” she said Friday hours before the sanctions against her. .

China’s response had so far been largely directed at the island of more than 23 million people just across the Taiwan Strait.

Beijing began a second day of military exercises around the island on Friday morning, send several military ships and aircraft across the median line into the strait which had been an unofficial buffer zone for decades.

A day earlier it had fired ballistic missiles, at least one of which had flown directly over the island and five of which Japan said had landed in waters within its exclusive economic zone.

Chinese military aircraft conducted 68 sorties while 13 warships carried out frequent drills around the Taiwan Strait as of 5 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET) on Friday, the Taiwan Military News Agency said, citing the Defense Ministry.

The Ministry of National Defense condemned the Chinese military’s deliberate crossing of the Strait’s median line and the encroachment on the sea and airspace around Taiwan, stressing that the Taiwanese military will take resolute measures to safeguard national security and ensure that democracy and freedom are not threatened,” the agency said quoting the ministry.

The ministry neither confirmed nor denied that missiles flew over Taiwan. If true, it would be the first time Chinese missiles have flown over the self-governing island.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry called the drills “highly provocative”, saying it would “take resolute measures to safeguard national security and ensure that democracy and freedom are not threatened”, but adding that it would was pledged not to escalate the situation, according to reports. agency.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also condemned the ongoing Chinese exercises on Friday, calling them a “significant escalation”.

“China has chosen to overreact and use President Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activities in and around the Taiwan Strait,” he told a press briefing. during a meeting with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia.

“There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and incremental military response.”

The drills, which started on Thursday, are expected to last until Sunday.

The Chinese Communist Party has never ruled Taiwan, but claims it as its own territory. While Chinese President Xi Jinping views Taiwan’s ‘reunification’ with the mainland as a historic inevitability, recent public opinion polls show the majority of Taiwanese do not want to be part of China and instead want to maintain the status quo. .

China has repeatedly warned the United States against the visit, which it says “gravely undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. The White House said the president’s visit was consistent with US policy on Taiwan and should not be used to precipitate a crisis.

Taiwan’s neighbors and U.S. allies in the region have expressed growing concern over China’s display of aggression.

Tokyo on Friday called on China to immediately halt its drills. “China’s actions this time have a serious impact on the peace and stability of our region and the international community,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.

Beijing defended the military drills, saying they were “in accordance with international law and international practice”.

“Regarding the ‘exclusive economic zone’ you mentioned, you should know, and the Japanese side should also know that China and Japan have not yet demarcated the relevant waters, so there is no ‘Japan’s exclusive economic zone,'” Hua Chunying, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, said at a press briefing.

Peter Alexander contributed.

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