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China acting ‘like a bully’ over Taiwan says expert

The move came as Beijing conducted military drills surrounding Taiwan and followed sanctions being issued against US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her direct family members in response to the Democrat’s visit to the self-ruling island, a visit dubbed “vicious and provocative” by Xi Jinping’s office.

The declaration of the series of China’s “countermeasures” are reflective of the uncertain territory at which relations between the world’s two largest economies currently stand.

On the second day of a massive military presence surrounding the island of Taiwan by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Beijing warned Washington it should “immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs on whatever grounds or under whatever pretexts”.

In a series of tweets on Friday, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the country had “historically been a victim of foreign aggression” and accused the US of undermining “China’s sovereignty and security”.

Addressing Ms Pelosi’s Taiwan trip, Chunying said: “The position of the Chinese government and people on the Taiwan question has been consistent.

“The US should take seriously and respect the core interests and the firm will of the Chinese people, who account for one fifth of the world’s population.”

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Xi Jinping and Joe Biden… China has suspended cooperation with the US on a series of major issues (Image: GETTY)

Urging the White House to restrain from acting against the “One China principle”, the official added: “Immediately stop upgrading the substantive exchanges between the US and Taiwan, and immediately stop arms sales to Taiwan.”

China claims Taiwan as its own and has vowed to retake it by force if necessary.

Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims and says only its people can decide the island’s future.

Ms Pelosi, who marked the first visit of a US House speaker to the island in a quarter of a century, said her intention by travelling to Taipei and meeting President Tsai Ing-wen was to make clear American leaders “never give in to autocrats”.

She wrote in an op-ed published in the Washington Post: “We cannot stand by as [China] proceeds to threaten Taiwan – and democracy itself.”

China v Taiwan

As China’s threats over Taiwan rise, this is how their armies compare (Image: DAILY EXPRESS)

China appears to believe Washington should “stand by”.

On Friday, Xi’s government said it was cancelling some efforts to keep communication channels open between Chinese and US military commanders.

Those included attempts to coordinate air and sea operations to prevent unintentional flare-ups, for instance, by warships operating close to each other at sea.

Other issues on which cooperation has been suspended are repatriation of illegal immigrants, counternarcotics and legal assistance in criminal matters.

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, told an Asean meeting of top diplomats on Friday that Beijing’s reaction was “flagrantly provocative”.

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Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi: We will not ‘give in to autocrats!’ (Image: GETTY)

He said: “The fact is, the speaker’s visit was peaceful.

“There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalatory military response.”

The end of bilateral talks on the climate emergency calls into question the two countries’ pledge to work together to accelerate climate action this decade.

China and the US, the world’s two largest polluters, vowed to meet regularly to “address the climate crisis” in a deal struck last year. The agreement might now be at stake.

Taiwan’s prime minister Su Tseng-chang lamented China’s threats and called for allies to push for de-escalation.

He said: “(We) didn’t expect that the evil neighbour next door would show off its power at our door and arbitrarily jeopardise the busiest waterways in the world with its military exercises.”

China on Thursday launched huge military exercises in the air and seas around Taiwan, including firing ballistic missiles close to the island – some of which landed in Japanese waters.

The exercises, which included rockets, attack helicopters and gunships, disrupted one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and diverted hundreds of flights.

Thursday’s drills were in unprecedented proximity to Taiwan and included incursions over the median line of the Taiwan strait – an unofficial but once tightly adhered-to border that runs down the middle of the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and China.

The Taiwanese defence ministry said the island had scrambled jets on Friday to warn away 49 Chinese aircraft in its air defence zone.

All 49 Chinese aircraft crossed the Taiwan strait median line, the ministry added.