Blinken to call for China to abide by rules in speech

Blinken to call for China to abide by rules in speech

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will call for China to abide by international rules as he delivers a major speech Thursday on America's relationship with its rival.

Days after President Joe Biden visited Japan and South Korea to shore up key alliances, Blinken will give a long-awaited speech billed as the most comprehensive statement by the administration on China.

In contrast to the abrasive approach of Biden's predecessor Donald Trump, Blinken will steer clear of the talk of a sweeping global conflict and will not ask nations to shun China, officials said.

A senior official said as he previewed the speech, this is not about dividing the world into rigid ideological blocs.

It is not about containing or keeping down power. It is about upholding and, just as importantly, revitalizing the international order in a way that protects core principles that have enabled peace and prosperity for decades - and has enabled China's remarkable rise. The White House had mulled whether Biden should deliver the speech but finally decided that it would be given by Blinken, part of the administration's attempt to compete with China but also lower the temperature.

In early May, Blinken had been scheduled to deliver the speech, to take place at George Washington University with the Asia Society as host, but postponed it after being diagnosed with Covid - 19.

Blinken's speech, Biden's trip and a first-of-a-kind summit in Washington early May with Southeast Asian leaders aimed to show that the United States is still focused on Asia despite months of effort to confront Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

The United States believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin poses an acute, immediate threat to international order and countering him reinforces the message on upholding rules, the customs condition of anonymity is an issue that the United States believes.

China is the one country that has the intention, as well as the economic, technological, military and diplomatic means, to advance a different vision of international order, the official said.

The Biden administration has repeatedly spoken of pressing China to abide by established rules, including in its conflicts in the South China Sea and trade, in which the United States accuses Beijing of widespread theft.

Biden is trying to unite allies in the face of China's rise, unveiling the Asia Pacific Economic Framework in Tokyo, which was supposed to coordinate trade policies around the region.

The Biden administration has launched a forum with the European Union to develop technological standards, hoping to prevent China from dominating the 21st century through its rapid gains in artificial intelligence.

After diplomacy between the world's two largest emitters ahead of last year's Glasgow summit, Blinken will voice support for working with China in limited areas where cooperation is seen as possible, such as climate change.

But officials said Blinken would not shy away from human rights and would reiterate the US view that Beijing is committed to genocide against the mostly Muslim Uyghur minority through mass incarceration of more than one million people.

The speech came days after Biden made waves at a Tokyo news conference by saying the United States would militarily defend Taiwan, the self-governing democracy claimed by Beijing.

Officials said Blinken would repeat Biden's later insistence that he was not deviating from the longstanding US policy on Taiwan.

In 1979, the United States changed its recognition from Taipei to Beijing. It provides Taiwan weapons for self-defense, while being deliberately ambiguous about whether it would intervene militarily in an invasion.