Chinese Threat: Renounce Taiwan, or the Global Climate Gets It

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Xi Jinping: Official website of Ali Khamenei, Supreme leader of IranCC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Globe from NASA (Public Domain). Match: Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Streichholz — 2021 — 6120” / CC BY-SA 4.0

Essay by Eric Worrall

China’s suspension of climate cooperation, in response to Nanci Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, is giving climate change worriers a taste of the thuggish geopolitical bullying Taiwan has endured over the years.

China suspends climate change cooperation with US and sanctions Nancy Pelosi in retaliation for Taiwan visit

Lawrence Chung in Taipei Teddy Ng in Hong Kong and Amber Wang in Beijing
Published: 11:56pm, 5 Aug, 2022

China has suspended cooperation with the United States in the fight against climate change as part of a range of measures in response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which also included sanctions on the House Speaker and her family.

Regular dialogues between the world’s two most powerful armed forces have also been cancelled, making it harder for them to prevent accidental conflicts. Beijing also said it would stop cooperating in tackling the drugs trade, fighting crime and repatriating illegal immigrants.

Pelosi, second in the presidential line of succession, is the most senior US politician to have been sanctioned by China after she became the first house speaker to visit the island in 25 years.

Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at Renmin University, called the latest measures “unprecedentedly severe” and said China-US relations have now sunk to rock bottom.

“The sanctions against Pelosi show how angry Beijing is,” he said.

But Shi noted that Beijing used the word “suspension” regarding climate change and other areas of cooperation, leaving the door open for the two sides to normalise their ties “if Washington takes the first step”.

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I can’t help thinking China has miscalculated by issuing this threat.

China is forcing the Biden Administration to choose between competing values, US support for liberal democracies vs the Biden administration’s obsession with climate change. Democrats will have to admit that climate change is a secondary priority.

The unthinkable alternative, the possibility of the USA delivering a close friend and ally into the jaws of a monster, just to restore climate cooperation, would shatter the USA’s international reputation.

There is something strangely clumsy about this latest Chinese provocation. In my opinion there have been hints over the years that some influential voices in the current Chinese regime might be struggling to understand the US political system, that they might be attempting to interpret US politics through the lens of assuming Biden is an absolute tyrant like Xi Jinping. They must have seen and puzzled over Pelosi’s open defiance of Biden, when she made her Taiwan visit. Perhaps they are worried that if Biden falls, Pelosi, whom they must think of as a Taiwan hawk, might replace him – a genuine possibility under US law.

Obviously this is very speculative, but the Chinese regime might even hope this climate ultimatum will help Biden reassert his authority over Congress, and in return deliver China a clear path to attack Taiwan.

Correction (EW): h/t Tom Halla – The order of Presidential succession is controlled by US law, not the constitution.

via Watts Up With That?

August 6, 2022

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