US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called for vigorous competition with arch-foe China to preserve the existing global order but hastened to add that Washington did not seek a “Cold War.”
In a speech at George Washington University, the top US diplomat outlined the Biden administration’s approach as “invest, align, compete”, dubbing Beijing as the “most serious long-term challenge to the international order”, despite recent focus on the war in Ukraine.
“China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order — and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to do it,” Blinken said.
He emphasized that China remains the Biden administration’s top priority despite the support and aid the US is providing Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.
“Even as President Putin’s war continues, we will remain focused on the most serious long-term challenge to the international order – and that’s posed by the People’s Republic of China,” the top US diplomat remarked.
He hastened to add that there is a growing consensus that other nations cannot change the trajectory of China, which it said has under President Xi Jinping become “more repressive at home, more aggressive abroad.”
“There is growing convergence about the need to approach relations with Beijing with more realism,” Blinken stressed. “If it takes concrete action to address the concerns that we and many other countries have voiced, we will respond positively.”
With a degree of caution, however, he noted that the US does not seek any political clash with China.
“We are not looking for conflict or a new Cold War. To the contrary, we’re determined to avoid both,” he said.
“We don’t seek to block China from its role as a major power, nor to stop China — or any other country for that matter – from growing their economy or advancing the interests of their people.”
He said the US is ready to strengthen diplomacy and increase communication with China “across a full range of issues,” and is prepared to work together on matters of mutual interest like climate change and Covid-19, noting that “even as we invest, align and compete, or together with Beijing, where our interests come together.”
“We can’t let the disagreements that divide us stop us from moving forward on the priorities that demand that we work together for the good of our people and for the good of the world,” he said.
Blinken acknowledged that “this is a charged moment for the world” and called for “diplomacy”.
“It’s how we make clear our profound concerns, better understand each other’s perspective, and have no doubt about each other’s intentions,” he asserted.
“We stand ready to increase our direct communication with Beijing across a full range of issues. And we hope that can happen,” he continued.
China set to hold fresh naval drills in South China Sea
His remarks came amid reports that China is set to hold fresh naval exercises on Saturday in the South China Sea, the country’s maritime authority said.
The exercises, set to take place in the sea less than 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) off the coast of south China’s Hainan province, come amid heightened tensions in the region and US President Joe Biden’s high-profile Asia visit.
“Military exercises will be held and entry is prohibited,” the Maritime Safety Administration said in a statement Thursday, warning that an area of roughly 100 square kilometers would be closed off to maritime traffic for five hours.
Source: Agencies (editted by Al-Manar English Website)