Blinken says China’s strategy is about rule-based order, not ‘new Cold War’

  • Blinken calls China the most serious challenge to the global order
  • In retaliation, China says the two countries will benefit from cooperation

WASHINGTON, May 26 (Reuters) – The United States will not stifle China’s economic growth, but wants it to adhere to international rules, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Thursday in a speech on the U.S. strategy to counter China’s uprising. As a great force.

Washington will not seek to change China’s political system, but will uphold international law and institutions that maintain peace and security and make it possible for nations to live together, he said.

“We are not looking for a conflict or a new Cold War. On the contrary, we are determined to avoid both,” Blinken said in a 45-minute speech at George Washington University, which covers some of the most controversial bilateral issues.

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Under former President Donald Trump, US-China relations have plummeted for decades, and under Democratic President Joe Biden.

During his seventeen months in office, Biden faced criticism from Republicans and some foreign policy observers for failing to announce a formal strategy for China, the world’s second-largest economy and Washington’s main strategic rival.

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan last year and foreign crises, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, have created distractions for Biden, who under his watch has vowed not to let China become world leader.

But his administration sought to exploit new solidarity with Ukraine’s provoked allies and the “unrestricted” alliance China announced with Moscow just weeks before Russia’s February 24 occupation of its neighbor.

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‘The Most Serious Long-Term Challenge’

Blingen said China has posed a “very serious long-term challenge to international order.”

He outlined the strategies for investing in US competitiveness and joining allies and allies to compete with China.

He said the Biden administration was ready to increase direct contact with Beijing on a variety of issues and that Chinese officials would “respond positively” if action was taken to address the concerns.

“But we can not trust Beijing to change its course. So we will design the strategic environment around Beijing to improve our vision for an open and inclusive international organization,” he said.

In response, the Chinese embassy in Washington stated that the United States and China should not use “broad common interests and the potential for deep cooperation” and “competition … to define the overall picture of Sino-US relations.”

“China and the United States benefit from cooperation and lose out in the conflict,” said embassy spokesman Liu Pengui.

He referred to a virtual summit between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping last November, and said the relationship was “at an important crossroads”.

“We hope the US side will work with China to eagerly implement the common understanding reached between the two leaders to improve relations, manage differences and focus on cooperation,” he said.

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‘Repression’ and ‘aggression’

Although Blinkan praised the hard work of the Chinese people for their country’s historic economic change over the past four decades, he directly aimed at Xi Jinping:

“Under President Ji, the ruling Communist Party of China has become more repressive domestically and more aggressively abroad.”

Blingen’s speech coincided with the start of China’s foreign minister’s extensive tour of the Pacific island nations, a growing front in the race for influence between Beijing and Washington. read more

The talks were postponed to early May after Blingen’s positive test for Govt-19 and following a month – long intensive US diplomacy focusing on the Indo – Pacific, Biden’s first trip was to the region. read more

Although Biden said earlier this week that the United States would intervene militarily if China attacked Taiwan, Blingen reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to a one-China policy on democratic Taiwan that China claims.

Washington has a long-standing policy of strategic ambiguity over whether to defend Taiwan militarily, and Biden and his aides later said his comments did not reflect policy change. read more

Under a one-China policy, Washington officially recognizes Beijing as diplomatic, although it is bound by law to provide Taiwan with means of self-defense. Blingen said this would not change and that Washington did not support Taiwan’s independence.

“Beijing’s growing compulsion to try to sever Taiwan’s ties with countries around the world and prevent them from participating in international organizations has changed,” he said, adding that the almost daily activity of the Chinese military near the island was “deep instability”.

Report by Michael Martina, Humeyra Pamuk, David Brunnstrom and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Stephen Coates and Howard Coller

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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