White House summons Chinese ambassador to condemn provocations after Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan

“After China’s actions overnight, we summoned PRC Ambassador Qin Gang to the White House to lobby him about the PRC’s provocative actions. We condemned the PRC’s military actions, which are irresponsible, inconsistent with our longstanding goal of maintaining peace and stability in and across the Taiwan Strait,” National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said in a statement to CNN.

The decision to summon Qin came after days of warnings to China not to escalate tensions in the region following the speaker’s visit to the self-governing island, which the Chinese Communist Party considers its territory although he never controlled it. It represents a change from the White House’s attitude about the trip before it happened, when officials privately tried to warn Pelosi of the possible consequences of the visit and how it might. damage US-China relations. The meeting was reported for the first time by the Washington Post.

In the days following Pelosi’s departure from Taiwan, China took multiple bellicose steps, both diplomatically and militarily.

On the diplomatic front, Beijing is sanctioning Pelosi and his immediate family and said Friday it would suspend cooperation with Washington on several issues, including tackling the climate crisis.

The pause in climate talks between the United States and China is symbolically significant for bilateral relations between the two nations, as the climate crisis was one of the few areas in which the United States and China had continued to cooperate in recent years, even in period of heightened geopolitical tensions.

The United States and China announced a bilateral agreement to cooperate on the climate crisis last year in Glasgow, widely seen as a progressive step that would allow China to work on key issues – such as reducing methane emissions. – without having to adhere to the global agreements that it had shown resistance. The nations’ climate representatives had been in regular communication to build on this agreement.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Chinese warships and aircraft conducted drills in the waters around the island and Chinese forces crossed the median line – the halfway point between the island and mainland China – in a move the ministry called a “highly provocative act”.

Two Chinese drones also flew near Japan on Thursday, prompting the country’s Air Self-Defense Force to send fighter jets in response, according to a Tokyo Defense Ministry statement.

Kirby said the White House had told Qin that the United States did not want a crisis in the region and reiterated that there had been no change in the US “One China” policy and that Washington recognized the People’s Republic of China as the sole legitimate government of China.

“We have also made it clear that the United States is prepared for what Beijing chooses to do. We will not seek and do not want a crisis. At the same time, we will not be deterred from operating in the seas and skies. of the Western Pacific, in accordance with international law, as we have done for decades – supporting Taiwan and standing up for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Kirby said in the statement.

NSC coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs Kurt Campbell met with Qin, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Friday that the United States has repeatedly let China know that “we are not looking for and will not cause a crisis.” He called China’s recent actions “provocative” and “a significant escalation”.

The speaker’s visit, he said, was “peaceful” and “there is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and incremental military response”.

Pelosi, a California Democrat, said the visit – the first time a U.S. House Speaker has visited Taiwan in 25 years – was meant to make it “unequivocally” clear that the United States “doesn’t wouldn’t give up” Taipei.

He came at a low point in US-China relations and despite warnings from the Biden administration against a visit to the democratically-ruled island.

The United States maintains close unofficial ties with Taiwan and is required by law to supply Taiwan with defensive weapons. But he remains deliberately vague about whether he would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, a policy known as “strategic ambiguity”.

The United States postponed a long-planned missile test due to China’s angry reaction to Pelosi’s trip. A US official told CNN that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered the Department of Defense to postpone the test flight of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile after the launch of military exercises by the China.

A senior official at the Chinese Embassy in Washington said on Friday that Qin “totally rejected the White House’s so-called condemnation” of military actions across the China Strait when he was summoned.

“The only way out of this crisis is for the US side to take action immediately to rectify its mistakes and eliminate the serious impact of Pelosi’s visit,” Minister Jing Quan said during a virtual briefing.

Jing reiterated that China views Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as “a serious violation of the one China policy.” He said they considered the lawmaker’s trip an official U.S. government visit, noting that Pelosi had flown on a U.S. government plane. The use of government aircraft is standard for congressional delegations, especially for the Speaker of the House who is high in the presidential succession.

He maintained that Pelosi “knows where China’s red lines are,” but said she “has always chosen to deliberately provoke and challenge China’s position.”

Kirby responded to Qin on Friday, saying, “There is nothing here that the United States can rectify – the Chinese can do a lot to reduce tensions simply by stopping these provocative military exercises and ending the rhetoric.”

“We don’t want a crisis. We’re not looking for a crisis and frankly, there’s no reason for a crisis to arise,” Kirby said in response to a question from CNN’s MJ Lee.

He told reporters the United States condemned China’s sanctioning of Pelosi and his family and said it was “unwarranted”, saying the speaker had “every right to leave”.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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