China sanctions Pelosi, cancels key U.S. dialogues over Taiwan row


The Hindu

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China sanctions Pelosi, cancels key U.S. dialogues over Taiwan row

China on Friday said it would sanction United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her visit to Taiwan this week, as well as cancel or suspend eight key dialogue mechanisms with the U.S.

The measures came as the Chinese military continued for a second day its live-fire drills in six regions surrounding Taiwan. The military exercises, that have effectively blockaded the waters and airspace in the six regions and resulted in major disruptions to shipping and flights to Taiwan, will continue until Sunday.

China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday said Pelosi had “insisted on visiting China’s Taiwan region” in “disregard of China’s grave concerns and firm opposition”. “In response to Pelosi’s egregious provocation,” a statement said, “China decides to adopt sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family members in accordance with relevant laws of the People’s Republic of China.” The statement did not specify what exactly the sanctions would entail.

The visit has also brought wider ramifications for China-U.S. relations. Washington on Friday said it had summoned the Chinese envoy, Qin Gang, and issued a demarche over China’s military exercises, which have for the first time seen the Chinese military fire missiles over Taiwan as well as conduct some drills within 12 nautical miles of the coast.

Beijing said it would cancel three key bilateral military dialogue mechanisms and suspend five others. The three cancelled dialogues – a Theatre Commanders meet, Defence Policy Coordination Talks, and talks under the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) – underlined further eroding trust between the two militaries and the closure of channels that were designed to increase communication.

Beijing said it would also suspend bilateral talks on climate change, as well as put on hold cooperation on the repatriation of illegal immigrants, legal assistance in criminal matters, transnational crimes, and counternarcotics.

China’s State media on Friday continued to highlight the military’s exercises, and reported that the PLA had sent an aircraft carrier group featuring at least one nuclear-powered submarine to the drills.

Taiwan’s Military of National Defence said it had tracked 13 Chinese naval vessels and 68 PLA aircraft crossing the median line, calling it “highly provocative”. In a televised address, President Tsai Ing-wen described the firing of missiles into “some of the busiest transportation corridors in the world” as “dangerous” and “irresponsible”.

China has defended the exercises as a countermeasure to Pelosi’s visit, the most high-level from the U.S. to Taiwan in 25 years, and Chinese analysts have said the exercises were aimed at sending a message to both Taiwan and the U.S. by bringing in a new normal in increased military activity around Taiwan. The drills marked the first firing of conventional missiles over Taiwan as well as aircraft and warships crossing the median line in the Taiwan Strait. The exercises, analysts said, had laid the groundwork for future blockades and area denial for foreign warships that might intervene in a future conflict.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that China’s military exercises aimed at Taiwan including missiles fired into Japan’s exclusive economic zone represent a “significant escalation”.

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