Beijing pulls out of climate talks with Washington

Beijing pulls out of climate talks with Washington

A Chinese military ship sails off Pingtan Island, one of mainland China's closest points to Taiwan, on Aug. 5, 2022.

Four days after Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China continues to deploy an arsenal of retaliation. Friday August 5, Beijing announced its withdrawal from several subjects of cooperation with the United States, in particular on the repatriation of illegal migrants, drug trafficking, but also the climate. A judged decision “irresponsible” by Washington, who believes that Beijing is overreacting to Pelosi. The President of the House of Representatives is the highest American dignitary to have visited Taiwan for twenty-five years, an affront to Beijing, which claims its sovereignty over the island, independent and democratic.

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Beijing also announced more symbolic sanctions against Pelosi and his family, and has continued to carry out large-scale military exercises around Taiwan since August 4. On Thursday, at least one Chinese missile flew over the island, a rare provocation. On Saturday August 6, the Taiwanese authorities announced that they had detected “multiple” Chinese planes and ships in the Taiwan Strait between the island and mainland China. “Some of them crossed the middle line” which bisects the strait, and “are considered to be carrying out a mock attack on the main island of Taiwan”said the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense.

Rare subject of collaboration

In a tense diplomatic climate between Beijing and Washington, the fight against global warming was one of the rare subjects of collaboration between the two leading world powers, which are also the leading emitters of greenhouse gases. “China is not only punishing the United States, it is punishing the whole world, because climate change knows no geographical limits or borders”, said White House spokesman for national security affairs John Kirby. Friday, through the voice of his spokesman, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, for his part, estimated ” impossible “ to solve the “world’s most pressing issues” without “effective dialogue and cooperation” between China and the United States.

Already at its worst since the presidency (2017-2021) of Donald Trump, Sino-American relations are currently experiencing their most serious crisis since the 1990s. At the time, China had fired missiles in the direction of Taiwan for several months after the Taiwanese president’s visit to the United States, until the Americans sent two aircraft carriers to sail through the strait. Today, the balance of power between the two powers is more balanced, and Beijing intends to mark the occasion to discourage other states from strengthening their relations with Taiwan. China is also withdrawing from other important dialogues, in terms of military cooperation, the fight against crime and against drug trafficking, while the synthetic opioid crisis in the United States is partly fueled by Chinese laboratories.

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