Blinken’s comments come on the heels of a contentious meeting between Blinken and national security advisor Jake Sullivan and China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and State Councilor Wang Yi in Alaska.
Ahead of the Alaska talks, Blinken slammed China’s sweeping use of “coercion and aggression” on the international stage and warned that the U.S. will push back if necessary.
“China uses coercion and aggression to systematically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undercut democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and assert maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law,” Blinken said at a news conference in Japan.
The tension between Beijing and Washington soared under the Trump administration, which initiated a trade war and worked to ban Chinese technology companies from doing business in the United States.
Over the past four years, the Trump administration blamed China for a wide range of grievances, including intellectual property theft, unfair trade practices and recently, the coronavirus pandemic.
President Joe Biden, who spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping last month, has previously said that his approach to China would be different from his predecessor’s in that he would work more closely with allies in order to mount pushback against Beijing.
“We will confront China’s economic abuses,” Biden said in a speech at the State Department, describing Beijing as America’s “most serious competitor.”
“But we’re also ready to work with Beijing when it’s in America’s interest to do so,” the president said. “We’ll compete from a position of strength by building back better at home and working with our allies and partners.”
Blinken, the first Biden Cabinet-level official to visit NATO, reiterated the U.S. commitment to the world’s most powerful alliance.
“We need to be able to have these tough conversations and even to disagree while still treating one another with respect. Too often in recent years, we in the U.S. seem to have forgotten who our friends are. That has already changed,” Blinken said, without mentioning the “America First” policy championed by the Trump administration.
Former President Donald Trump frequently dressed down NATO members throughout his presidency and had previously threatened to leave the alliance.
In December 2019, Trump told NATO leaders in London that too many members were still not contributing enough financially and threatened to reduce U.S. military support if allies do not increase spending.
Trump singled out German Chancellor Angela Merkel for not meeting the 2% of GDP spending goal set at the 2014 NATO summit in Wales.
Article source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/24/blinken-says-china-threatens-nato-calls-for-joint-approach-to-counter-beijing.html