“After China’s actions overnight, we summoned the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Chen Gang, to the White House to tell him about the provocative actions of the People’s Republic of China. We condemned the military actions of the People’s Republic of China, which are irresponsible, and which go against our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability and through Taiwan Strait,” National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said in a statement to CNN.
In the days following Pelosi’s departure from Taiwan, China took several hostile steps, both diplomatically and militarily.
On the diplomatic front, Beijing is imposing sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family and said Friday it would suspend cooperation with Washington on several issues, including combating the climate crisis.
The United States and China announced in Glasgow last year a bilateral agreement to cooperate on the climate crisis, which is widely seen as a progressive step that would allow China to work on key issues – such as reducing methane emissions – without having to join global agreements that stipulates that. Show resistance to. Climate representatives in the countries have been in regular contact to build on this agreement.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Chinese warships and aircraft had conducted exercises in the waters around the island and that Chinese forces had crossed the center line – the midpoint between the island and mainland China – in a move the ministry called a “very provocative act”.
Two Chinese drones flew near Japan on Thursday, prompting the country’s Air Self-Defense Forces to scramble fighter jets in response, according to a statement from the Defense Ministry in Tokyo.
Kirby said that the White House told Chen that the United States did not want a crisis in the region and stressed that there had been no change in the US “one China” policy and that Washington recognized the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate government of China.
“We have also made clear that the United States is ready for whatever Beijing chooses to do. We will not seek nor want a crisis. At the same time, we will not back down from action in the seas and skies of the Western Pacific. In accordance with international law, as we have done for decades – support Taiwan and defend the region free and open Indo-Pacific,” Kirby said in the statement.
Kurt Campbell, the National Security Council’s coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs, met with Chen, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told reporters on Friday that the United States had repeatedly told China “we are not pursuing and will not cause a crisis.” He described China’s recent actions as “provocative” and “a significant escalation.”
He said the spokesman’s visit was “peaceful” and “there is no justification for this extreme and disproportionate military response and escalation.”
Pelosi, a Democrat from California, said the visit – the first time a US House speaker has visited Taiwan in 25 years – was to make it “unequivocally” that the US “will not give up” on Taipei.
It came at a low point in US-China relations and despite the Biden administration’s warnings against visiting the democratically governed island.
The United States maintains close informal relations with Taiwan, and is obligated by law to provide Taiwan with defensive weapons. But it remains deliberately ambiguous about whether it 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 Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered the Department of Defense to postpone the test flight of an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM after China began military exercises.
A senior official at the Chinese Embassy in Washington said Friday that Chen had “completely rejected the so-called condemnation” of the White House for China’s military actions across the strait when he was summoned.
“The only way out of this crisis is for the US side to take matters into their own hands immediately to correct their mistakes and remove the dangerous impact of Pelosi’s visit,” Minister Jing Quan said during a virtual briefing.
Jing reiterated that China considers Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan a “serious violation of the one-China policy.” He said they consider the deputy’s flight an official visit to the US government, noting that Pelosi flew on a US government plane. Use of a government aircraft is a standard for congressional delegations, especially for the Speaker of the House who is high in the presidential succession hierarchy.
He said Pelosi “knows where China’s red lines are” but said she “still deliberately chooses to provoke and challenge China’s position.”
On Friday, Kirby responded to Chen, saying, “There is nothing here the United States can correct – the Chinese can go a long way to de-escalate tensions simply by stopping these provocative military exercises and ending the rhetoric.”
“We don’t want a crisis,” Kirby said in response to a question from CNN’s MJ Lee. “We don’t seek a crisis and frankly there is no reason for a crisis to explode out of this.”
He told reporters that the United States condemns China’s imposition of sanctions on Pelosi and her family, and said that this was “unjustified”, considering that the spokesman had “every right to go.”
This story has been updated with additional information.