China said Friday it would cut off cooperation with the United States on a litany of key issues including climate change, drug efforts and military talks as relations between the two superpowers plummet on the island of Taiwan.
Beijing reacted furiously to the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island, which it claims as its territory and vowed to recapture it, if necessary, by force.
Since Thursday, it has surrounded the democratic, self-governing island with a series of massive military exercises that have been harshly condemned by the United States and other Western allies.
And on Friday, his foreign ministry reacted further against the United States, suspending talks and cooperation on multiple deals between the two, including the fight against climate change.
The world’s two biggest polluters last year pledged to work together to accelerate climate action this decade and vowed to meet regularly to “tackle the climate crisis.”
But that deal looks shaky as relations drop to some of the lowest levels in recent years, as do deals on everything from talks on military issues to drug cooperation.
Pelosi – who was also hit by sanctions from Beijing for the visit – defended her trip to Taiwan, saying on Friday that Washington “would not allow” China to isolate the island.
Taiwan also condemned Beijing’s furious response to the visit, with Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang calling on allies to push for a reduction in the escalation.
“(We) didn’t expect the evil neighbor next door to show his power at our door and arbitrarily jeopardize the world’s busiest waterways with his military drills,” he told reporters.
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– ‘Our homeland is mighty’ –
Beijing said its military exercises would continue until noon on Sunday and Taipei reported that 68 Chinese planes and 13 warships crossed the “midline” running along the Taiwan Strait on Friday.
AFP reporters on China’s Pingtan Island saw a fighter jet fly overhead, prompting tourists to take photos as it flew along the coast.
A Chinese military ship was also visible as it sailed through the Taiwan Strait, they added.
The Chinese exercises involved a “conventional missile assault” in the waters east of Taiwan, the Chinese military said.
And state broadcaster CCTV reported that Chinese missiles had flown directly into Taiwan, a major escalation if officially confirmed.
On the Chinese island of Pingtan, local tourists proudly extolled their country’s military might against its much smaller neighbor.
“Our homeland is powerful. We are not afraid of having a war with Taiwan, the United States or any other country in the world, ”Liu, a 40-year-old tourist from Zhejiang Province, told AFP.
“We hope to unify Taiwan soon. We are not afraid of anyone, “she added.
“Our country is powerful. We don’t want to start a war, but we are not afraid of others “.
– ‘Significant escalation’ –
The ruling Communist Party of China sees Taiwan as part of its territory and has promised to take it one day if necessary by force.
But the scale and intensity of the exercises have sparked outrage in the United States and other democracies.
“These provocative actions are a significant escalation,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after talks with Southeast Asian foreign ministers in Phnom Penh.
“The fact is that the speaker’s visit was peaceful. There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalating military response, “he added.
Japan filed a formal diplomatic complaint against Beijing, with five of the Chinese missiles believed to have landed in its exclusive economic zone.
And Australia, which has a troubled relationship with China, its main trading partner, condemned the exercises as “disproportionate and destabilizing”.
The maneuvers are taking place along some of the busiest shipping routes in the world, used to spread the global supply of vital semiconductors and electronic equipment manufactured in East Asia.