China suspends cooperation with US on key issues as relations sour over Nancy Pelosi Taiwan trip

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China's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, sailing during a drill at sea - STR/AFP via Getty Images
China's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, sailing during a drill at sea - STR/AFP via Getty Images

China said on Friday it was ending cooperation with the United States on a range of key issues including climate change, anti-drug efforts and military talks, as relations between the two superpowers nosedive over Taiwan.

Beijing has reacted furiously to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to this week visit the self-ruled island, which it claims as its territory and has vowed to retake - by force if necessary. She became the highest-level US visitor in 25 years.

Since she left, China has staged unprecedented major war games to encircle Taiwan. At least four Chinese ballistic missiles flew over the capital Taipei on Thursday, according to Japan’s defence ministry, the first time since 1996.

Friday saw Beijing escalate the tensions even further after its foreign ministry suspended talks and cooperation on multiple agreements with the US - including on climate change.

The world's two largest polluters last year pledged to work together to accelerate climate action this decade, and vowed to meet regularly to "address the climate crisis".

But that deal looks shaky as relations sink to some of their lowest levels in years, as do agreements on everything from talks on military matters to anti-drug cooperation.

Nancy Pelosi, with Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, became the highest-level US visitor to the country in 25 years - TAIWAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS via Reuters
Nancy Pelosi, with Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, became the highest-level US visitor to the country in 25 years - TAIWAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS via Reuters

The White House said that China's decision to cut off climate talks was "fundamentally irresponsible".

Beijing also announced that it would personally impose sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family in response to her "vicious" and "provocative" actions.

It came as Chinese warships and fighter jets once again crossed the unofficial border line in the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Friday, prompting Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang to blast the “evil neighbour showing off her power at our door”.

The defence ministry said the drills were “highly provocative”.

“As of 11am, multiple batches of Chinese warplanes and warships conducted exercises around the Taiwan Strait and crossed the median line of the strait,” the ministry said in a statement.

It was previously rare for warships and jets to cross the median line, though Chinese incursions have become more frequent after Beijing declared in 2020 the unofficial border no longer existed.

The drills are set to continue until Sunday.

On the Chinese coast across from Taiwan, tourists gathered Friday to try to catch a glimpse of any military jets heading toward the exercise area.

People at Pingtan Island, a popular scenic spot in Fujian province, took photos and chanted, "Let's take Taiwan back", as aircraft could be heard flying overhead.

"Our motherland is powerful. We are not afraid of having war with Taiwan, the US or any country in the world," Liu, a 40-year-old tourist from Zhejiang province, told AFP. "We hope to unify Taiwan soon. We are not scared of anyone."

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