Taiwan tensions cloud East Asia summit

Taiwan was high on the agenda as top diplomats from some of the world’s major powers gathered for the East Asia summit in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, on Friday.

Tensions are high, as China launched massive military exercises the day before. They followed a visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The summit included the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterparts Wang Yi and Sergei Lavrov of Russia also attended.

Blinken chastised China for the drills which he called “provocative” and “significantly escalating”. He said Beijing was taking dangerous acts to a new level.

Blinken said: “The fact is that the speaker’s visit was peaceful. There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalating military response.”

Meanwhile, Chinese Wang left the room while Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa delivered a speech. Lavrov also left. The two held another meeting afterwards.

Wang was curt in his response to a question from NHK. He said, “We firmly uphold the ‘one China’ principle and oppose Taiwan independence forces.”

Beijing had previously called off direct talks between Wang and Hayashi, scheduled for Thursday.

He said he was unhappy with the joint statement by the G7, including Japan, criticizing the military exercises.