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US envoy urges China to restore cooperation with Washington

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns

US Ambassador to Beijing Nicholas Burns has said that China should restore cooperation with the United States on crucial issues, such as climate change and healthcare.

“Our message to the Chinese is ‘let’s talk, open these dialogues and let’s move forward,’” Burns told his audience at the Milken Institute Asia Summit in Singapore on Thursday, Bloomberg quoted him saying.

Beijing severed cooperation with Washington on crucial issues in early August following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Chinese Taipei.

The speaker of the US House of Representatives became the highest-ranking American official to visit Taipei since the 1990s, despite stark warnings from China and amid soaring tensions between the world's two superpowers.  

From the self-governing territory, Pelosi criticized Beijing and its leadership, while carefully outlining the limitations of the US commitment to defend the island.

Pelosi said her visit was intended to make it "unequivocally clear" that the United States would "not abandon" the island.

China had warned the US and Pelosi against the visit, as it views Taiwan as a breakaway province that will one day rejoin a “one” China. In response to Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, China’s People’s Liberation Army began the largest military exercises targeting Taiwan in decades.

China carried out military exercises in both the seas and airspace surrounding Taiwan.

Pelosi’s controversial and ill-timed visit has been condemned worldwide, with countries such as Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea backing the One China policy and denouncing the breach of China’s territorial integrity.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned Pelosi’s trip as a “dangerous provocation” at the time.

In his speech on Thursday Burns reiterated Washington’s concerns that Beijing could stop seeking a peaceful resolution to the Taiwan issue, the South China Morning Post reported.

“If anyone has changed policy here, it’s really the People’s Republic of China, with their overreaction, for nearly two months now since speaker Pelosi’s visit,” the US diplomat said.

China slammed Burns for making similar statements in the past. “Burns is not a qualified ambassador. His remarks on Pelosi's visit to Taiwan exposed the limits of his understanding of complicated China-US relations,” the Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times wrote last month.

Relations between Washington and Beijing have hit a new low over the self-ruled island. China sees Taiwan as part of its territory and has already warned Washington against playing with fire, vowing to punish those who ignore Beijing’s warnings.

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