The White House blasted China on Friday for paring back its engagement with the US on a range of issues including climate change and drug enforcement in protest over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called Beijing’s so-called “countermeasures,” which also included suspending cooperation on transnational crimes and repatriation of illegal immigrants, “irresponsible.”
“China is not just punishing the United States with these actions, but they’re actually punishing the whole world,” Mr. Kirby told reporters. “The world’s largest [pollution] emitter is now refusing to engage on critical steps necessary to stand up to combat the climate crisis.”
“It’s also important that we be honest, as well, about the fact that we’ve seen these kinds of responses from China before,” he said. “It is a piece of their playbook.”
China’s Foreign Ministry announced that Beijing would pare down its diplomatic engagement with the US earlier Friday, in the latest signal of displeasure over the California Democrat’s Taipei stopover 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 off military lines of communication with the US, while “not atypical” of China, adds to the risk of “miscalculation and misperception.” The People’s Liberation Army continues its series of highly provocative military maneuvers surrounding Taiwan, which Beijing considers to be a breakaway province.
“When you have this much military hardware operating in confined areas, it’s good, especially now, to have those lines of communication open,” he said, noting that some key lines of military communications between the US and China remain open.
“Bottom line is we’re going to continue our efforts to keep open the lines of communication with Beijing while defending our interests and our values in the region,” Mr. Kirby said. “That’s what the world expects of the United States. It’s what they expect from China. And we certainly encourage Beijing to reciprocate.”
China also announced on Friday that it would levy sanctions against Mrs. Pelosi and her “immediate family members,” a move that Mr. Kirby also criticized.
“The United States condemns China’s announcement of sanctions against Speaker Pelosi and her family members,” he said. “She had every right to go. This step in Beijing is simply unjustified.”