“Following China’s actions overnight, we summoned PRC Ambassador Qin Gang to the White House to brief him on the PRC’s provocative actions. We condemn the PRC’s military actions, which they are irresponsible, contrary to our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, said in a statement to CNN.
In the days since Pelosi left Taiwan, China has taken multiple bellicose steps, both diplomatically and militarily.
On the diplomatic front, Beijing is sanctioning Pelosi and her immediate family and said on Friday it would suspend cooperation with Washington on a number of issues, including combating the climate crisis.
The United States and China announced in Glasgow last year a bilateral agreement to cooperate on the climate crisis, widely seen as a progressive step that would allow China to work on key issues, such as cutting methane emissions, without having to join global agreements that had shown resistance to The nations’ climate representatives had been in regular communication to build on that agreement.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Chinese warships and planes conducted exercises in waters around the island and Chinese forces crossed the median line, the midpoint between the island and mainland China, in a move the ministry called a “highly provocative act”.
Two Chinese drones also flew near Japan on Thursday, prompting the country’s Air Self-Defense Force to send fighter jets in response, according to a Tokyo Defense Ministry statement.
Kirby said the White House told Qin that the US does not want a crisis in the region, reiterating that there has been no change in the US “One China” policy and that Washington recognizes the People’s Republic. China as the sole legitimate government of China.
“We also make it clear that the United States is prepared for whatever Beijing decides to do. We will not seek or 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 advocating a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Kirby said in the statement.
NSC coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs Kurt Campbell met with Qin, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters Friday that the United States has repeatedly conveyed to China that “we do not seek and will not provoke a crisis.” He called China’s recent actions “provocative” and “a significant escalation.”
The speaker’s visit, he said, was “peaceful” and “there is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalated military response.”
Pelosi, a Democrat from California, said the visit, the first time a US House speaker has visited Taiwan in 25 years, was aimed at making it “unequivocally clear” that the United States “would not abandon” Taipei.
It came at a low point in US-China relations and despite warnings from the Biden administration against a visit to the democratically-ruled island.
The United States maintains close unofficial ties with Taiwan and is required by law to provide Taiwan with defensive weapons. But he remains deliberately vague about whether he would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, a policy known as “strategic ambiguity.”
The United States postponed a long-planned missile test due to China’s angry reaction to Pelosi’s trip. A US official told CNN that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered the Defense Department to postpone the test flight of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile after China launched military exercises.
A senior Chinese embassy official in Washington said Friday that Qin “totally rejected the White House’s alleged condemnation” of China’s cross-strait military actions when summoned.
“The only way out of this crisis is that the US side must take things immediately to rectify its mistakes and remove the serious impact of Pelosi’s visit,” Minister Jing Quan said during a virtual briefing.
Jing reiterated that China views Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as “a serious violation of the one-China policy.” He said they view the legislator’s trip as an official US government visit, noting that Pelosi flew on a US government plane. The use of a government plane is standard for congressional delegations, especially for the Speaker of the House who is high in the presidential line of succession.
He argued that Pelosi “knows where China’s red lines are” but said she “still chose to deliberately provoke and challenge China’s position.”
Kirby responded to Qin on Friday by saying: “There is nothing here for the United States to rectify; the Chinese can go a long way toward reducing tensions simply by stopping these provocative military exercises and ending the rhetoric.”
“We don’t want a crisis. We’re not looking for a crisis and, frankly, there’s no reason for a crisis to come out of this,” Kirby said in response to a question from CNN’s MJ Lee.
He told reporters that the United States condemns China’s sanctioning of Pelosi and her family and said it was “unjustified,” saying she had “every right to leave.”
This story has been updated with additional information.