Blinken hits China's move to suspend climate talks with US

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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks at a press conference after a virtual meeting with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo on Aug. 6, 2022.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 6) - The United States' top diplomat criticized Beijing's decision to suspend cooperation with Washington on the climate crisis because of tensions over Taiwan.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called China's move "irresponsible."

"We should not hold hostage cooperation on matters of global concern because of differences between our two countries," Blinken said in a press conference during his visit to the Philippines on Saturday.

He added that walking away from climate talks could have lasting consequences for the planet.

"The Philippines knows how alarming this is," Blinken continued. "As a nation of thousands of islands, they are especially vulnerable to climate change."

China on Friday announced suspending partnership with the US on climate change and other areas—including the repatriation of illegal immigrants and combatting transnational crimes—after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.

The trip—the first for a US House Speaker in 25 years—angered China, which claims the self-governed island as its sovereign territory.

A pretext for aggression?

Blinken said the US will keep its channels of communication with China open, and "responsibly manage" the situation to avoid further deteriorating their relationship.

"The United States doesn't believe that it's in the interest of Taiwan, the region, or our own national security to escalate the situation. I conveyed that directly to Wang Yi, the PRC's (People's Republic of China) foreign minister at the East Asia summit just yesterday," he said.

The US official, however, added that he believes Beijing's military maneuvers in response to what he called a peaceful visit are disproportionate, and that the East Asian giant should not use Pelosi's trip as a "pretext" for aggressive actions towards Taiwan.

After denouncing Pelosi's visit, China fired missiles near Taiwan on Thursday. The Taiwanese government also said Chinese warships and aircraft continued drills in waters around the island.

Blinken accused China of moving away from a decades-long status quo of peacefully resolving differences between Taiwan and mainland China.

"What we've seen over the last few years is China engaging in increasingly destabilizing and potentially dangerous actions with regard to Taiwan, and this follows from that," he said.

In the same briefing, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said the country and other member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations stand ready to help de-escalate tensions between the two major powers.