U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has said that China believes it should be the ‘dominant country in the world,’ addressing rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.
An increasingly powerful China is challenging the world order, acting ‘more repressively’ and ‘more aggressively’ as it flexes its influence, Blinken told CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday.
‘I think over that over time, China believes that it can be and should be and will be the dominant country in the world,’ Blinken said.
‘What we’ve witnessed over the last several years is China acting more repressively at home and more aggressively abroad. That is a fact,’ the top American diplomat said.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has said that China believes it should be the ‘dominant country in the world,’ addressing rising tensions between Washington and Beijing
Chinese leader Xi Jinping is seen speaking at a virtual climate summit on April 22
His comments came after President Joe Biden, in his first address to Congress on Wednesday, underscored that he was not seeking conflict with Beijing.
Biden said he told Chinese President Xi Jinping that in the competition to be the dominant power of the 21st century, ‘we welcome the competition — and that we are not looking for conflict.’
Blinken said China is ‘the one country in the world that has the military, economic, diplomatic capacity to undermine or challenge the rules-based order that we care so much about and are determined to defend.
‘But I want to be very clear about something… our purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to keep it down; it is to uphold this rules-based order that China is posing a challenge to.’
Tensions have risen sharply with China over the past few years as the United States also takes issue with Beijing’s assertive military moves and human rights concerns, including what Washington has described as genocide against the mostly Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang.
‘We’ve made clear that we see a genocide having taken place against the Uighurs in Xinjiang,’ Blinken reiterated, in a claim that China furiously denies.
A guard tower and barbed wire fences surround an internment facility in the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in 2018
Members of the Uighur community and human rights activists demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament in London, United Kingdom on April 22
Asked about the reported theft of hundreds of billions of dollars or more in U.S. trade secrets and intellectual property by China, Blinken said the Biden administration had ‘real concerns’ about the IP issue.
He said it sounded like the actions ‘of someone who’s trying to compete unfairly and increasingly in adversarial ways. But we’re much more effective and stronger when we’re bringing like-minded and similarly aggrieved countries together to say to Beijing: ‘This can’t stand and it won’t stand.”
On Friday, Biden’s administration said China had fallen short on its commitments to protect American intellectual property in the ‘Phase 1’ U.S.-China trade deal signed last year.
The commitments were part of the sweeping deal between former President Donald Trump’s administration and Beijing, which included regulatory changes on agricultural biotechnology and commitments to purchase some $200 billion in U.S. exports over two years.
Blinken arrived in London on Sunday for a G7 foreign ministers meeting where China is one of the issues on the agenda.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen last week at a ceremony commissioning three new warships to patrol the South China Sea, a vast territory that China claims as its own
China last week unveiled its latest warships as tensions simmer with Taiwan
In the interview, Blinken said the United States was not aiming to ‘contain China’ but to ‘uphold this rules-based order – that China is posing a challenge to. Anyone who poses a challenge to that order, we’re going to stand up and – and defend it.’
Biden has identified competition with China as his administration’s greatest foreign policy challenge.
In his first speech to Congress last Wednesday, he pledged to maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the Indo-Pacific and to boost U.S. technological development.
Blinken said he speaks to Biden ‘pretty close to daily.’
Last month, Blinken said the United States was concerned about China’s aggressive actions against Taiwan and warned it would be a ‘serious mistake’ for anyone to try to change the status quo in the western Pacific by force.
The United States has a long-standing commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to ensure that self-governing Taiwan has the ability to defend itself and to sustain peace and security in the western Pacific, Blinken said.
Taiwan has complained over the past few months of repeated missions by China’s air force near the island, which China claims as its own.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken says closing Guantanamo is ‘certainly a goal’ for Biden and joins Joint Chiefs Chairman in admitting US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan could lead to Taliban takeover
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said President Joe Biden’s administration is planning to close the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba but declined to offer a timeline in an interview aired Sunday.
‘We believe that it should be [closed], that’s certainly a goal, but it’s something that we’ll bring some focus to in the months ahead,’ Blinken told 60 Minutes host Norah O’Donnell.
Biden has previously said he intends to shutter the prison at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base known as ‘Gitmo’, which currently houses 40 high profile criminals linked to the War on Terror.
Blinken suggested that closure could be a long way off, in part because it would require approval from Congress to move some prisoners to the US for trial or imprisonment.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday said President Joe Biden is planning to close the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba ‘in the coming months’
Guantanamo was among several issues Blinken addressed in the 60 Minutes interview, including the Biden administration’s withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, which began formally on Saturday.
Blinken reaffirmed Biden’s commitment to maintaining support for the Afghan government after the withdrawal while acknowledging the possibility of the situation there taking a bad turn.
‘Are you prepared for a worst case scenario in Afghanistan where the US-backed government fails, and the Taliban takes over?’ O’Donnell asked.
Blinken said officials were watching the situation in ‘a very clear-eyed way’ and that they are ‘prepared for every scenario’.
‘We’ve been engaged in Afghanistan for 20 years and we sometimes forget why we went there in the first place, and that was to deal with the people who attacked us on 9/11. And we did,’ he said.
‘Just because our troops are coming home doesn’t mean we’re leaving. We’re not,’ he continued, saying that the American embassy would be staying and economic, development, and humanitarian support would continue from the US and our allies.’
Biden has previously said he intends to shutter the prison at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base known as ‘Gitmo’, which currently houses 40 high profile criminals (file photo)
Blinken’s comments came after Gen Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted that Afghan government forces face an uncertain future and, in a worst-case scenario, some ‘bad possible outcomes’ against Taliban insurgents as the withdrawal of American and coalition troops accelerates in the coming weeks.
Milley described the Afghan military and police as ‘reasonably well equipped, reasonably well trained, reasonably well led’.
He cited Afghan troops’ years of experience against a resilient insurgency, but he declined to say they are fully ready to stand up to the Taliban without direct international backing during a potential Taliban offensive.
A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Milley spoke in an interview with Associated Press and CNN reporters flying with him from Hawaii to Washington just hours after the formal kickoff of the withdrawal.