Blinken to say China strategy is about rules-based order, not ‘new Cold War’ -Breaking
Humeyra Pamuk and Michael Martina
WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The United States doesn’t seek to seperate China from the global economic system, but rather wants Beijing to follow international laws, U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken will say on Thursday in a much-anticipated speech.
This isn’t about a new Cold War. In a press conference, a top U.S. official explained to reporters that this is not about creating rigid ideological blocs in the world.
Official stated, “It’s about upholding, and just as importantly revitalizing, international order in ways that protect core principles which have enabled peace and prosperity for decades.”
The Trump administration has caused U.S.-China relations to plummet to the lowest point in many decades. These relationships have deteriorated further under President Joe Biden. He has maintained the same sweeping tariffs that his predecessor imposed on Chinese products, but has also sought closer ties to allies in Indo-Pacific to counter Beijing’s increasing influence.
Yet, 17 months after his election, Biden was criticised by Republicans and foreign policy watchers because he did not announce a formal strategy for China. China is the second largest economy in the world and Washington’s primary strategic competitor.
Biden has pledged not to allow China to surpass the United States in global leadership, despite distractions from foreign crises like the U.S.’s messy withdrawal last year from Afghanistan and Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine.
Blinken’s speech is scheduled to coincide with China’s start of its sweeping tour of the Pacific island country ministers, an ever-tense front in rivalries for influence between Beijing (and Washington) and its allies.
Blinken will be clear in stating Washington’s “unwavering concentration” on China and the Indo-Pacific, officials stated. Officials also outlined the strategic framework, which is to align with allies and partner countries to fight China.
A second official stated that “the Secretary will clarify that the United States does not seek to seperate China’s economic from ours, or the global economy.”
Blinken will emphasize that the United States won’t trade with these countries for compromises on its principles, the official stated.
The officials stated that Washington will seek to influence the Chinese environment, rather than try to modify its behavior. They also want to ensure American companies are not subject to unfair Beijing practices like state-led subsidies or market access blocks.
Biden has tried to take advantage of the new solidarity that Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and China’s partnership “no limit” with China have sparked with its allies.
Washington and Beijing continue to disagree about the U.S.’s increasing support for Taiwan’s Chinese-claimed democracy island. This is despite the fact that the United States has formally maintained its long-standing policy’strategic confusion’ regarding whether Taiwan would be protected militarily.
Blinken will be reaffirming the U.S. commitment the one China policy. This is despite Biden’s earlier statements that the United States would become militarily involved in case China attacks Taiwan. Later, he and his assistants clarified that his comments did not indicate a change in policy.
His address was delayed once Blinken had tested positive for COVID-19 in May. It follows months of intense U.S. diplomatic activity on Indo-Pacific. This week, Biden returned from his first visit as President to that region.
Meetings with South Korean, Japanese, Indian, Australia and Australian leaders were part of a pushback against Washington’s “coercive” behavior.
Biden has also sought to give new momentum to ties with Southeast Asia. He declared a “new age” in relations during a summit held in Washington earlier this month.