China sanctions Pelosi and suspends defense cooperation with the US

Three fighter jets taxi down a runway at Hsinchu Air Base. / AFP

Beijing and Washington cross accusations of irresponsibility in an unprecedented crisis that also freezes collaboration on climate change

The two superpowers of the world do not speak to each other. And without that, “there is no way to solve most of the pressing problems facing the world,” a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned yesterday.

China’s anger over Congressional Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has been mounting. She began by initiating maneuvers around the island that, at this point, resemble a military encirclement. Later, he cut off imports with Taiwan. This Friday she closed all communications with Washington, to which she added some sanctions, still undefined, against Pelosi and her entire family.

Both countries have called the ambassador of the other power to admonish him for what they consider “irresponsibility,” said the White House spokesman for National Security, John Kirby. “We neither seek nor want a crisis,” he added. But this did not appease China, it only infuriated the Republican opposition, which blames it for giving an image of weakness by not having supported Pelosi’s trip and his congressional delegation from the beginning.

Precisely for this reason, the message that the United States transmitted to the Chinese ambassador Qin Gang when summoning him to reproach him for the escalation for which he blames his government has lost force. China also blames Washington for having provoked it. The week before Pelosi landed in Taipei, President Xi Jinping called Biden to warn him that he was “playing with fire.” He now has to assert those words to show that he is a great world power.

“It is time for the United States to act as such,” seconded former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who paradoxically was also sanctioned by China the day Donald Trump left power. Beijing then accused him of having “seriously violated” its sovereignty, an echo of current times. Those sanctions that fell on 28 senior Trump government officials prevent him from visiting the Asian giant and doing business with that country for “having planned, promoted and executed a series of crazy movements that have seriously interfered with China’s internal affairs.”

Under the “One China” policy that the US accepted in 1972, the Asian country promised to use peaceful means to achieve the reunification of its historical territory, which includes the island of Taiwan. Now that he feels like a superpower, President Xi Jinping does not rule out the use of force, because half a century later it seems unlikely that Taiwan will want to give up its democracy and self-government to voluntarily join the communist country. It is precisely this growing threat that has motivated Pelosi’s visit, who sought to discourage China from an invasion by defiantly reiterating that the US will defend Taiwan.

Some think that this is what Biden should have done with Ukraine before the Russian invasion took place. His words then to calculate the reaction, depending on the size of the incursion and respond with sanctions, failed to dissuade Putin. On the contrary, he interpreted it as a green light, according to analysts.

UN warning

If the return of the Cold War served as a pause for communication between the US and Russia, the breakdown of relations with China makes it impossible to advance in the fight against climate change, warned the UN spokesman, who crosses steps in Japan with Pelosi . Both countries are the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Their cooperation is seen as essential to make progress at the climate summit to be held in Egypt in November. The world is on pause until the two powers feel that they have shown their might.

With Biden sick with Covid and the legislative elections around the corner in the fall, the White House prefers to talk about the drop in unemployment and the economic package that the Senate is about to approve. Spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre insisted on Friday that “there is no reason” for the escalation, because US policy towards China has not changed. Not even a visit by a congressional speaker to Taiwan is new, Newt Gingrich did in 1997. “China will not decide where American rulers travel or not,” she insisted. “They have the right to go where they want. Just as our ships can sail in international waters wherever they want.

Pelosi responded indignantly to the suggestion that her trip was intended more to cement her legacy than to benefit Taiwan, which is now in the eye of the storm. What a ridiculous question, she defended herself. “Taiwan is one of the freest countries in the world. Its economy is buoyant. This is not about me, but about them », she settled.

The congressional spokeswoman believes that relations with China are also bigger than Taiwan. Neither the world nor the two countries can afford a permanent break. “I will continue to meet with the Chinese ambassador whenever he requests it, but I will also speak honestly to him,” she warned.

His host, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, is one of the most disturbed by the military maneuvers around his shores. Five ballistic missiles have landed in its economic trade zone, so this Friday he did not hesitate to consider the escalation as “a serious problem that seriously threatens regional peace and security.”

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