Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks on US policy toward China

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday described China as the “seriousest long-term challenge to the international order” even as the world grapples with Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“China is the only country with both the intention to reshape the international order – and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military and technological might to do so,” Blinken said in a speech at the Washington University.

“Beijing’s vision would move us away from the universal values ​​that have underpinned so much progress in the world over the past 75 years,” Blinken said.

The speech, which outlines the Biden administration’s policy toward China, comes as the United States warns the world’s second-largest economy not to help Moscow impose global sanctions for the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. It also follows an effort by the Biden administration to calm Beijing’s anger over Biden’s comment that the United States was ready to use its military to defend Taiwan.

Blinken acknowledged that the United States will have to compete with China on several fronts, but took steps to avoid escalating tensions between the countries.

“We will align our efforts with our network of allies and partners acting in common purpose and common cause and leveraging these two key strengths, we will compete with China to defend our interests and our vision for the future,” he said. Mr. Blinken.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about US policy toward China during an event hosted by the Asia Society Policy Institute at George Washington University in Washington, DC on May 26, 2022.

jim watson | AFP | Getty Images

Blinken said the United States would continue to make strategic investments in education, research, advanced manufacturing and infrastructure to challenge the areas where Beijing is trying to lead the world.

“We can get this done and it can’t wait,” Blinken added, calling on US lawmakers to pass relevant legislation such as a bill to boost semiconductor manufacturing.

The head of the American diplomacy acknowledged that the United States and China will have a central role to play in the world economy in one of the “most complex and consequential relationships” that the United States has with our world. any country. While the world’s two largest economies will face each other “for the foreseeable future,” the United States wants to avoid “conflict or a new cold war,” Blinken said.

“We are not seeking to prevent China from playing its role as a great power, nor to prevent China – or any other country – from developing its economy or advancing the interests of its people,” he added.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Tensions between Beijing and Washington have skyrocketed under the Trump administration. Former President Donald Trump has blamed China outright for a wide range of grievances, including intellectual property theft, unfair trade practices and the coronavirus pandemic.

Blinken attempted Thursday to play down the tension between the two countries.

“We have deep differences with the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government, but those differences are between governments and systems and not between our peoples,” Blinken said.

“We respect their achievements and their history, their culture, and deeply appreciate the ties of family and friendship that bind us together. And we sincerely want our governments to work together on the issues that matter,” he added.

President Joe Biden has previously said his administration is ready for “extreme competition” with China but that his approach will be different from that of his predecessor. He also placed greater emphasis on working more closely with his allies to push back against China – rather than taking action to counter Beijing alone.

“We’re going to confront China’s economic abuses,” Biden said during his first visit to the State Department in February. “But we’re also ready to work with Beijing when it’s in America’s best interests. We’ll compete from a position of strength by building back better at home and working with our allies and partners,” he added. .

The president also said that during his political career he had spent more time with China’s Xi Jinping than any other world leader.

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