White House summons Chinese ambassador to rebuke Taiwan’s response

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The White House summoned the Chinese ambassador on Thursday to condemn Beijing’s escalating actions against Taiwan and reiterate that the United States does not want a crisis in the region, after a visit to the island by the President of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) which greatly escalated tensions. in the Taiwan Strait this week.

“After China’s actions overnight, we convened [People’s Republic of China] Ambassador Qin Gang to the White House to approach him about the PRC’s provocative actions,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in a statement provided to The Washington Post. “We condemned the PRC’s military actions, which are irresponsible and contrary to our longstanding goal of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” A demarche is a protest filed through diplomatic channels.

China’s show of force against Taiwan on Thursday included firing missiles into the sea and threatening the island’s territorial waters. Taiwan said China fired 11 ballistic missiles into waters off its northeast and southwest coasts, and Japanese officials said five Chinese missiles landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

The White House also reiterated to Qin that it wishes to keep all lines of communication open and that nothing has changed in the United States’ One China Policy, which states that there are only a single Chinese entity and no independent enclaves. But the White House has also stressed that it finds Beijing’s actions unacceptable and will defend its values ​​in the Indo-Pacific.

The previously unreported meeting was between Qin and Kurt Campbell, deputy aide to President Biden and coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs at the National Security Council, according to a White House official, who is expressed on condition of anonymity. share details of a private conversation.

China’s military actions on Thursday raised tensions in the Taiwan Strait to their highest level in decades, raising fears of a dangerous miscalculation in one of the world’s most charged geopolitical hotspots. Beijing has openly expressed anger over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which it considers part of its territory awaiting unification, and US-China relations were already strained over disputes over trade, rights of man and other issues.

Pelosi: Why I am visiting Taiwan

The White House pointed Qin to a statement from the Group of Seven Industrialized Democracies, Kirby said, which stressed that China should not use Pelosi’s visit as a pretext for aggressive military action in the Taiwan Strait. The White House also expressed support for a statement from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, which called on all parties to defuse tensions and engage in dialogue.

“We have once again clarified, as we have done privately at the highest level and publicly: nothing has changed in our one China policy. We have also made it clear that the United States is prepared for whatever Beijing chooses to do,” Kirby said. “We will not seek and do not want a crisis. At the same time, we will not be deterred from operating in the seas and skies of the Western Pacific, in accordance with international law, as we have done for decades – supporting Taiwan and championing a free and open Indo-Pacific.

China’s state broadcaster CCTV said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command had carried out long-range live-fire drills and “precision strikes” on the eastern parts of the strait. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the PLA fired 11 Dongfeng ballistic missiles.

The White House sought to defuse tensions with China before and during Pelosi’s visit, which the speaker undertook against the administration’s wishes. White House officials warned earlier this week that China was preparing for possible aggressive actions that could continue well beyond Pelosi’s visit.

Virtually every senior official on Biden’s national security team had privately expressed deep reservations about the trip and its timing, the White House official said. They were particularly worried because US-China tensions are already high and Washington is seeking China’s cooperation on the war in Ukraine and other issues.

Senior White House officials defended Pelosi’s right to travel to Taiwan both publicly and to their counterparts in China, but even so some of them still didn’t think the trip was a good idea. , the official said.

China has sought for years to diplomatically isolate Taiwan. The Communist Party of China claims the island, a self-governing democracy home to more than 23 million people, as its territory, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping has pledged to ‘reunify’ Taiwan with China, by force if necessary. .

Chinese Ambassador: Why We Opposed Pelosi’s Visit

But Pelosi doubled down on Thursday, saying China would fail to bully the island.

“They may try to prevent Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they won’t isolate Taiwan,” Pelosi said in Tokyo, the final leg of his tour. “They don’t make our travel schedule. The Chinese government does not do this.

At a press conference on Thursday, Kirby said the United States was responding to China’s actions.

The United States will conduct standard air and sea transits through the Taiwan Strait over the next few weeks, he said, and take “further steps” to stand with its allies in the region, including including Japan, although he did not specify what those actions were. would be. The Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and its battle group will remain near Taiwan to monitor the situation, Kirby added.

Lily Kuo contributed to this report.

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