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News > U.S.

Blinken: China Tries to Undermine US-Led World Order

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tells NATO allies during European visit that China is a threat to the West but that the United States will not force anyone to choose sides between Washington and Beijing.

    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tells NATO allies during European visit that China is a threat to the West but that the United States will not force anyone to choose sides between Washington and Beijing. | Photo: Twitter @segamihcfund

Published 30 March 2021 (9 hours 28 minutes ago)
Opinion

The Biden administration has singled out China as “the biggest geopolitical test” to U.S. preeminence in the 21st century. It has expanded military, economic, and sanctions pressure against the Asian nation during its first two months in office. China has responded by strengthening regional partnerships and relations with trade partners.

Antony Blinken, who visited Europe last week to meet with NATO and European Union leaders, gave Italian newspaper La Stampa an interview where he spoke at length on the issue of China in terms of recent tensions between the U.S. and its European allies as opposed to the Asian giant.

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“Our relationship with Beijing, like that of many of our allies, is competitive in some cases, collaborative in others, and antagonistic in others still. However, there is a common denominator, namely the need to confront China from a position of strength, which starts with strong alliances, coordination, and cooperation,” Blinken said during the interview.

The diplomat promised that the U.S. would not force allies to “choose” between Washington and Beijing and suggested that America’s goal was “not to contain China or keep it down,” but “preserve the rules-based international order, in which we have all invested so much over the past 75 years, and which has served our interests and values well”.

“When someone challenges this system, be it China or others – when they do not play by or respect the rules, or try to undermine the commitments made by others, we all have reason to object,” Blinken said, accusing Beijing of “undermining this order, violating human rights and other commitments.”

Relations between the West and China are at their lowest this month since the 1989 Tian Amen Square events. A flurry of sanctions has been exchanged between the U.S., the EU, Britain, and Canada on one side, accusing China of severe human rights abuses in Xinjiang province against the Uyghur Muslim minority. On the other end, Beijing targets Western nationals and organizations pushing the Uyghur issue while denying that the minority’s rights were being violated and bringing to light Western nations’ historical mistreatment of minorities during their colonial past.

The Xinjiang province issue is but one of the items in a growing and broader economic, military, and geopolitical dispute between China and the U.S. and its allies. Differences between the parts include tensions over Taiwan and Hong Kong, competing for territorial claims over large areas of the South China Sea, trade, tariffs, and technology issues.

China has responded to the pressure by strengthening strategic partnerships, especially with South Asian neighbors,  expanding cooperation with Moscow, signing a significant 25-year cooperation agreement with Iran, and penning a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment trade deal with the EU.

Earlier this month, a high-level diplomatic meeting took place in Anchorage, Alaska. Still, talks ended in mutual recriminations after the U.S. side accused Beijing of rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, aggressive intentions against Taiwan, cyberattacks, and “economic coercion” of its allies. Chinese officials responded by accusing Washington of ignoring human rights abuses in its own backyard and attempting to use military might to coerce other countries.

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