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China-US Relations

China rejects Antony Blinken speech as ‘smear’

Print edition : Jun 04, 2022 T+T-

China rejects Antony Blinken speech as ‘smear’

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made a a speech on US China policy at George Washington University on May 26.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made a a speech on US China policy at George Washington University on May 26.

Beijing has accused the US of spreading “disinformation” after a landmark speech on Washington’s policy towards China.

China on May 27 criticized a speech by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that focused on the balance of power between the world’s two biggest economies. Blinken delivered an address on May 26 designed to rally the international community to deter and counter China, which the US sees as “the most serious long-term challenge to the international order.”

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson described the address as US “disinformation” and an attempt to “smear China’s domestic and foreign policy.” The exchange comes at the end of a week in which US President Joe Biden said Washington would militarily defend Taiwan if it was attacked, in comments that were seen as a departure from the US line.

How did China react to Blinken’s speech?

Blinken’s speech was not well-received in Beijing. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters that the US only wanted to “contain and suppress China’s development and uphold US hegemony.” Wang charged Blinken with hypocrisy, saying the remarks were “essentially spreading disinformation.”

Wang was particularly exercised by the idea that the US might persuade other countries to take a harder line on China. He said that international rules were often created by the US “and a few other countries.” “The US always places its domestic law above international law and follows international rules selectively,” Wang said.

China has taken a more assertive stance in recent months, expanding its military presence on artificial islands it claims in the South China Sea and scaling up rhetoric against Taiwan. Foreign Minister Wang Yi has also gone to the South Pacific with security proposals for island nations there that would give China a much greater footprint in the region. These moves have been greeted with concern in Washington.

What did Antony Blinken say?

The top US diplomat said in his speech on May 26 that he saw China as the only country that could disrupt the world order as it stands. “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,’‘ Blinken said. China had the incentive and the capability to reshape the international order, said Blinken.

This week tensions came to a head during Joe Biden’s first visit to Asia as president. There, he met with leaders from the “Quad” group [US, Japan, India and Australia], launched an economic co-operation initiative for Asian countries, and declared the US would defend Taiwan if China invaded. His comments on Taiwan were quickly clarified by aides insisting that the US still observed the “One China” policy, which allows some co-operation with Taiwan but stops short of recognizing the independence of the self-governing island.

During the visit, China conducted joint air patrols near Japan with the Russian air force, emphasizing the two countries’ bonds. China has declined to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine that galvanized the US and other western countries to provide support for Ukraine and implement sanctions on Russia.

er/rt (AP, dpa)

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