China imposes sanctions on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over visit to Taiwan

Chinese officials announced unspecified sanctions against U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her visit to Taiwan earlier this week.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said Ms. Pelosi ignored China’s concerns and strongly opposed her visit to the self-ruled island.

Ms. Pelosi was the highest-ranking US official to visit the self-governing island in 25 years. China claims that Taiwan is its own territory and opposes its own commitments to foreign governments.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said earlier that Chinese military exercises aimed at Taiwan, including missile launches on Japan’s exclusive economic zone, represented a “significant escalation.”

The military exercise was launched by China after Ms. Pelosi’s visit sparked anger in Beijing.

At a press conference in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, Mr. Blinken said, “China has decided to overreact and use Speaker Pelosi’s visit as an excuse to step up provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait.”

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Taiwanese Air Force Mirage fighter jets taxi to the runway of Hsinchu Air Base (AP)

Mr. Blinken also said the US is “strongly in solidarity” with Japan following the “dangerous actions taken by China.”

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Cambodia, Mr. Blinken said that Ms. Pelosi’s visit was peaceful and did not reflect a change in US policy towards Taiwan.

He said the situation led to “active communication” during the East Asian Summits in Phnom Penh, in which he and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi participated along with ASEAN countries, Russia and other countries.

“I reiterated the points that we have made publicly and also directly to the Chinese colleagues in recent days, again, that they should not use the visit as a pretext for war, escalation, provocative actions, that there is no possible justification for what they have done and we urge them to stop these actions,” he said.

Mr. Blinken did not sit down one on one with Mr. Wang, but said that he had already spoken to the Chinese Foreign Minister about the possibility of Ms. Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan before it happened during the meetings in Bali, and did The US position is clear.

As the East Asia Summit opened, Mr. Wang patted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the shoulder as he entered the room and quickly waved to the already seated Mr. Lavrov before taking his seat.

Mr. Lavrov waved back.

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Chinese Aircraft (Xinhua via AP)

Mr. Blinken, who was the last to enter the room, did not even look at Mr. Lavrov, who took his place in about half a dozen chairs, or at Mr. Wang, who was seated further back at the same table as Lavrov.

Ahead of the talks in Phnom Penh, the US State Department indicated that Blinken had no plans to meet one-on-one with any of the men during the meetings.

On Thursday, China canceled a meeting of foreign ministers with Japan in protest at a statement by the G7 countries that said there was no justification for Beijing’s military exercises, which effectively encircle Taiwan.

“Japan, along with other members of the G7 and the EU, made an irresponsible statement that blames China and mixes right and wrong,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in Beijing.

When Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa began addressing the East Asia Summit on Friday, Lavrov and Wang left the room, according to a diplomat who was in the room.