The Chinese government on Friday escalated its retaliatory response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan earlier this week by suspending diplomatic ties on a number of key fronts, including the climate crisis, and canceling military coordination agreements with the United States.
According to the Associated Press:
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 the visit to the island it claims as its own territory, to be annexed by force if necessary. China on Thursday launched threatening military exercises in six zones just off Taiwan’s coasts that it says will run through Sunday.
Missiles have also been fired over Taiwan, defense officials told state media. China routinely opposes the self-governing island having its own contacts with foreign governments, but its response to the Pelosi visit has been unusually vociferous.
In addition to the suspension or cancellation of the high-level diplomatic channels, China’s Foreign Ministry also announced unspecified sanctions against Pelosi and her immediate family as punishment for the “egregious provocation” which Chinese officials had adamantly warned against.
“In disregard of China’s grave concerns and firm opposition, Pelosi insisted on visiting China’s Taiwan region,” the ministry said in a statement. “This constitutes a gross interference in China’s internal affairs.”
Pelosi’s meddling, the statement continued, “gravely undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, seriously tramples on the one-China principle, and severely threatens peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
As Common Dreams reported, anti-war voices and regional experts had repeatedly urged Pelosi to reconsider the visit during her travels in Asia, warning that a stop in Taipei could further erode an already strained relationship with Beijing.
“A trip to Taiwan by the most powerful member of Congress undermines […] longstanding U.S. policy and increases the risk of another war,” said Marcy Winograd and Jim Carpenter, co-chairs of the foreign policy team for Progressive Democrats of America, in a statement ahead of Pelosi’s trip.
Following news of China’s actions on Friday, Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group CodePink, offered exasperated sarcasm over the latest development.
“Way to go, Speaker Pelosi,” lamented Benjamin. “Your visit to Taiwan really helped global cooperation on critical issues like the environment. Not.”