US Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered an address Thursday designed to rally the international community to deter and counter China, which the US sees as a long-term threat to global stability.
The speech sought to define a balance between competing economic and military interests while outlining the US government’s policy towards China.
Speaking at George Washington University Thursday, Blinken said, “China is the one country that has the intention as well as the economic, technological, military and diplomatic means to advance a different vision of international order.”
The US views Russia as a present and immediate danger to the global order. However, longer term the US sees China as more capable of disrupting international security.
“The foundations of the international order are under serious and sustained danger,” Blinken said
Prior to Russia invading Ukraine, it signed a “no limits” security pact with China. Both countries released a lengthy statement about the nature of the cooperation while at the time China’s English language translation omitted language Moscow included about countering NATO as a threat.
The US seeks to use an array of tools to counter and deter China, including its numerous friends and allies as well as its considerable resources, military and otherwise.
US officials acknowledge there is only so much that can be done to shape and influence China’s goals. Instead, the US is interested in shaping the strategic environment around China in which leaders in Beijing must make decisions.
“Given America’s advantages, the competition is ours to lose,” Blinken said.
America’s top diplomat emphasized that the coalition mustered to counter Russia in Ukraine presents a model both agile and well-resourced in how to face future challenges from China.
“By preventing Putin from achieving his aims, we believe we are greatly strengthening our hand to defend and uphold this order against challenges by others,” Blinken said. “The countries of the world have avoided another world war and a conflict between nuclear powers.”
The Biden administration has largely kept in place more confrontational policies towards China that were developed under the Trump administration following authoritarian crackdowns involving the Uyghurs in Xinjiang and democracy activists in Hong Kong, as well as in Tibet and the South China Sea.
Blinken specifically mentioned the Uyghurs, against whom Beijing is carrying out a genocide according to US accusations, in his speech Thursday.
During his recent trip to Asia, Biden stated the US would act to defend Taiwan should China invade the disputed, democratically ruled island nation. China views Taiwan as a breakaway republic that is part of its own territory.
The US permits informal links and arms sales to Taiwan, but formally adheres to a “One China” policy since 1979. US officials scrambled accordingly to counteract Biden’s Taiwan message and state that there had been no change in US policy. Echoing Biden’s advisors, Blinken restated that there has been no official change in US policy towards Taiwan.
“We do not recognize Taiwan’s independence,” Blinken said.
In recent years, high level officials in the US have telegraphed their support for Taiwan and members of the US Congress have visited Taiwan’s capital Taipei.