US urges China to resume stalled talks

Stamp of disapproval: A pro-Beijing protester stamping on an image of Pelosi during a protest outside the US Consulate in Hong Kong after Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August. — AFP

WASHINGTON: The United States’ top envoy to China called on the nation to reopen dialogues it halted after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan almost two months ago, as Washington tries to get ties back on track.

“Our message to the Chinese is let’s talk, open these dialogues and let’s move forward,” Ambassador Nicholas Burns said via video yesterday to the Milken Institute Asia Summit in Singapore.

The United States needed to work with China on issues like climate change and health, Burns said, even as they competed on technology.

He did warn that Washington viewed Beijing as trying to change the status quo on Taiwan, adding: “We’ve warned them that we won’t agree to that we don’t accept it.”

The comments mark an effort by Washington to soothe tensions with Beijing that spiked when Pelosi became the first sitting speaker in a quarter century to visit Taiwan, a democracy China views as its territory.

China warned Pelosi not to visit, and when she did, it responded with unprecedented military drills and by firing ballistic missiles over the island.

It also cut off talks with the US on defence and climate change – one area where the nations had found common ground in recent years.

At the time, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called China’s cutting of military talks with the US “an irresponsible act,” but added that “not all channels of communication between our military leaders are shut down”.

Last week, US climate envoy John Kerry said there was still room for progress on climate talks with China.

“I really hope China will decide sometime in the next days it is worth coming back to this because we owe it to humankind,” he said. — Bloomberg

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