US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US is ready to strengthen diplomacy and increase communication with China “across a full range of issues” in a speech on the administration’s policy towards the country on Thursday.
“This is a charged moment for the world. And at times like these, diplomacy is vital,” said Blinken who was speaking at George Washington University. “We stand ready to increase our direct communication with Beijing across a full range of issues.”
But Blinken also warned, “we can’t rely on Beijing to change its trajectory. So we will shape the strategic environment around Beijing to advance our vision for an open and inclusive international system.”
Blinken outlined the Biden administration’s strategy as “invest, align, compete.”
“We will invest in the foundations of our strength at home – our competitiveness, our innovation, our democracy. We will align our efforts with our network of allies and partners, acting with common purpose and in common cause. And harnessing these two key assets, we’ll compete with China to defend our interests and build our vision for the future,” said Blinken.
He made clear the Biden administration is not seeking conflict with China.
“We are not looking for conflict or a new Cold War. To the contrary, we’re determined to avoid both,” Blinken said as he unveiled a much-anticipated speech laying out the Biden administration’s China policy.
Blinken explained that the US and China “have to deal with each other for the foreseeable future.” And he committed to a continued focus on that relationship – and the threats that China poses to international world order – even as Russia’s war on Ukraine rages on.
“Even as President Putin’s war continues, we will remain focused on the most serious long-term challenge to the international order – and that’s posed by the People’s Republic of China,” Blinken said.
Blinken added that the Biden administration has worked to develop and implement a “comprehensive strategy” to aimed at working on national strengths and working with partners and allies to “realize the future that we seek.” That future does not require blocking China, he explained.
“We don’t seek to block China from its role as a major power, nor to stop China – or any country for that matter – from growing their economy or advancing the interests of their people. But we will defend and strengthen the international law, agreements, principles, and institutions that maintain peace and security, protect the rights of individuals and sovereign nations, and make it possible for all countries – including the United States and China – to coexist and cooperate,” Blinken said.
This story is breaking and will be updated.