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China upholds halting US talks, vows ‘serious consequences’ for Washington

This file photo shows Wu Qian, a spokesperson for China’s Defense Ministry.

China’s Defense Ministry has upheld its decision to halt military talks with the US to protest a recent provocative visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, vowing “serious consequences” for Washington.

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said on Monday that the current tense situation in the Taiwan Strait is “entirely provoked” and created by the US side on its own initiative.

“The US side must bear full responsibility and serious consequences for this,” Wu said, in remarks just days after Pelosi paid an official visit to the island territory despite Beijing’s warnings against the move. “The bottom line cannot be broken, and communication requires sincerity.”

“China’s relevant countermeasures are a necessary warning to the provocations of the United States and Taiwan and a legitimate defense of national sovereignty and security,” the Chinese spokesman said in response to questions on whether the cutting of some official communication lines would be permanent.

Pelosi’s visit has enraged China, which repeatedly protested close US ties with Taiwan and regular visits to the territory by its officials despite its formal recognition of only one China. Beijing then reacted with test launches of ballistic missiles over Taipei for the first time, as well as suspending some lines of dialogue with Washington.

China called off formal talks involving theatre-level commands, defense policy coordination, and military maritime consultations on Friday as Pelosi left the region, according to press reports.

US military, State Department, and White House officials, however, slammed the retaliatory move by Beijing, describing it as an irresponsible overreaction.

Western press reports have cited unnamed “security analysts” and “diplomats” to insist that China’s suspension of some of its communication links with the US military “raises the risk of an accidental escalation over Taiwan at a critical moment.”

Reuters cited “one US official” as saying that Chinese officials had not responded to calls from senior Pentagon officials amid the rising tensions last week, but that they did not see this as a formal severing of ties with senior figures, such as US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

‘Taiwan not part of US but Chinese territory’

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi made clear on Sunday that Taiwan is not part of the US but it is part of the Chinese territory.

The United States has been engaging in “sophistry” on the Taiwan question, and China’s actions on Taiwan have been just, appropriate and legal, as well as being aimed at safeguarding the country’s sacred sovereignty and territorial integrity, Wang stressed during a visit to Bangladesh.

Nearly 10 warships each from China and Taiwan maneuvered at close quarters around the line on Sunday, according to a Reuters report, citing “a person familiar with the situation who is involved with security planning.”

Taiwan’s defense ministry said Chinese military ships, aircraft, and drones had simulated attacks on the island and its navy. It further claimed that it had deployed aircraft and ships to react “appropriately.”

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