Speaking today at George Washington University, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned “the foundations of the international order are under serious and sustained challenge.” Blinken mentioned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the global response to it but said that his department would “remain focused on the most serious long-term challenge…posed by the People’s Republic of China.” He continued:
“China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to do it,” Mr. Blinken said in a speech laying out the administration’s strategy on China. “Beijing’s vision would move us away from the universal values that have sustained so much of the world’s progress over the past 75 years.”…
“We can’t rely on Beijing to change its trajectory,” he said. “So we will shape the strategic environment around Beijing to advance our vision for an open and inclusive international system.”
“We are not looking for conflict or a new cold war,” Blinken said but he promised that America would defend the international laws and principles “that maintain peace and security.”
After praising the hard work of the Chinese people to lift their own economy, Blinken got to the heart of the matter. “Under President Xi, the ruling Chinese Communist Party has become more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad,” he said. He then listed a string of issues to demonstrate this including mass surveillance, militarization of the South China Sea and support for Russia despite its invasion of Ukraine.
Blinken went on to frame the competition with China as one that was America’s to lose. In fields such as biotechnology, artificial intelligence and quantum computing Blinken suggested America needed to lead on those technologies to ensure they weren’t used against freedom in the world.
Blinken did discuss the One China policy and Taiwan which President Biden seemingly undermined earlier this week.
“Our approach has been consistent across decades and administrations,” the secretary of state said. “As the president has said, our policy has not changed. The United States remains committed to our One China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three joint communiques, the six assurances. We oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side.”…
“We do not support Taiwan independence, and we expect cross-strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means,” the secretary said.
As for working with Taiwan, Blinken said the U.S. “will continue to expand our cooperation with Taiwan on our many shared interests and values,” and “”deepen our economic ties consistent with our One China policy.”
There doesn’t appear to be an official response from China to this speech yet. This is probably a case where they want to take their time. Here’s the full speech.