The White House on Friday slammed China for reducing engagement with the United States on a range of issues, including climate change and drug control, in protest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called Beijing’s so-called “countermeasures,” which also include a suspension of cooperation on transnational crime and the deportation of illegal immigrants, “irresponsible.”
“These actions by China are not only punishing the United States, they are actually punishing the whole world,” Mr Kirby told reporters. “The world’s largest [pollution] Emitters are now refusing to take the critical steps necessary to tackle the climate crisis. “
“It’s also important that we honestly admit that we’ve seen this type of response from China before,” he said. “It’s part of their playbook.”
China’s foreign ministry announced earlier on Friday that Beijing would reduce diplomatic engagement with the United States, the latest sign of dissatisfaction with the California Democrat’s stopover in Taipei earlier this week.
Chinese officials also said talks between regional commanders and military maritime consultations would be canceled.
Mr Kirby said Beijing’s move to cut military ties with the US, while “not typical” of China, increased the risk of “miscalculation and misunderstanding”. The People’s Liberation Army continues to conduct a series of highly provocative military exercises around Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway province.
“When you have so much military hardware operating in confined areas, it’s good to have these lines of communication open, especially now,” he said, noting that some key military lines of communication between the U.S. and China remain open.
“The bottom line is that we will continue to work hard to keep our lines of communication open with Beijing, while defending our interests and values in the region,” Mr Kirby said. “That’s what the world expects from America. That’s what they expect from China. We certainly encourage Beijing to respond.”
China also announced Friday that it would impose sanctions on Mrs. Pelosi and her “immediate family members,” a move Kirby also criticized.
“The United States condemns China’s announcement of sanctions against Speaker Pelosi and her family,” he said. “She has every right to go. Beijing’s step is simply unreasonable.”