Blinken says U.S. must not “lose sight of cooperative aspect” in relations

Just days after the Joe Biden administration imposed aggressive restrictions on China’s access to semiconductors and identified China as a threat to American security in its National Security Strategy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that though a “very different” China had emerged under Xi Jinping’s leadership, the United States should not “lose sight of the cooperative aspect” in bilateral ties. Blinken, appearing at Stanford University in California, answered questions about technology, diplomacy and national security from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who held the post in the George W. Bush Administration from 2005 to 2009 and is now Director of the university’s Hoover Institution.

While saying that China “is more repressive at home” and “more aggressive abroad” under Xi, Blinken stressed that “it’s important not to reduce this to a bumper sticker”. He described Washington’s relationship with China as among the “most consequential”, “most challenging” and “most complicated” and said recent years had seen the competitive aspect of the relationship become the “front and center”. That competitive tone will “shape what comes next after this post-Cold War period”, he said, adding that the world’s major challenges will be difficult to tackle “if the United States and China are not actually engaged in trying to solve problems of climate, global health, etc”.

In August, China suspended all cooperation with the U.S. as a punitive action after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. Blinken said the U.S. and countries around the world had a profound stake in peacefully resolving the Taiwan issue. “The amount of commercial traffic that goes through the Strait every single day – and it has an impact on economies around the world – is enormous,” he said, adding that if Taiwanese semiconductor production were disrupted because of hostilities, “you would have an economic crisis around the world”. He also repeated that the U.S. was committed to its one-China policy while also determined to make good on its pledge to support Taiwan to defend itself, the South China Morning Post reports.