Blinken says China is ‘acting more repressively at home and more aggressively abroad’

Antony Blinken speaks during his confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 19, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • The U.S. Secretary of State warned that China had started acting “more aggressively abroad.”
  • He told CBS News that he wanted to avoid military confrontation between the two superpowers.
  • “What we’ve witnessed over the last several years is China acting more repressively at home and more aggressively abroad. That is a fact,” he said.
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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned that China had started acting “more aggressively abroad” and behaving “increasingly in adversarial ways.”

He told CBS News’ 60 Minutes in an interview aired Sunday that he wanted to avoid military confrontation between the two superpowers but said it was a “fact” that China had increased its aggressive behavior towards other powers in recent years.

Asked about the prospect of military confrontation, he said: “It’s profoundly against the interests of both China and the United States to, to get to that point, or even to head in that direction.”

“What we’ve witnessed over the last several years is China acting more repressively at home and more aggressively abroad. That is a fact,” he added.

biden xi jinping china
Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing December 4, 2013.

Tensions have increased significantly between the US and China in recent years, particularly after President Trump took a particularly hawkish line towards Beijing, with both powers imposing economic sanctions upon each other.

President Biden has pledged largely to continue pursuing a hawkish line towards China, with a recent meeting between Chinese and American diplomats in Alaska souring relations.

Blinken has specifically criticized China’s use of coercive measures against US allies, and said Washington views China as both an economic and security threat, particularly in the technology industry, CNBC reported.

Blinken told CBS News that Biden and Chinese premier Xi Jinping had talked in their first phone call in February, which lasted over two hours, about “real concerns” the US had about actions China had taken.

“President Biden made clear that in a number of areas we have real concerns about the actions that China has taken, and that includes in the economic area, and that includes the theft of intellectual property,” he said.

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Henry Kissinger has warned of the doomsday potential of the weapons US-China possess as relations between the 2 superpowers worsen

Henry Kissinger
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger speaks during the Department of State 230th Anniversary Celebration at the Harry S. Truman Headquarters building July 29, 2019 in Washington, DC.

  • Veteran statesman Henry Kissinger warned of the dangers of worsening US-China relations.
  • “For the first time in human history, humanity has the capacity to extinguish itself in a finite period of time,” Kissinger said.
  • The Biden administration has taken a hawkish approach towards China.
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Veteran US statesman Henry Kissinger has offered a stark warning of the apocalyptic dangers facing the world if conflict erupted between the US and China.

Kissinger told the McCain Institute’s Sedona Forum on global issues Friday that strained relations with China are “the biggest problem for America, the biggest problem for the world,” reported the AFP.

“Because if we can’t solve that, then the risk is that all over the world, a kind of cold war will develop between China and the United States.”

He told the forum that while nuclear weapons during the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union had had the capacity to inflict vast damage, that capacity for destruction was exceeded by nuclear technology and artificial intelligence capabilities the US and China now have at their disposal.

“For the first time in human history, humanity has the capacity to extinguish itself in a finite period of time,” Kissinger said.

“We have developed the technology of a power that is beyond what anybody imagined even 70 years ago.”

“And now, to the nuclear issue is added the high tech issue, which in the field of artificial intelligence, in its essence is based on the fact that man becomes a partner of machines and that machines can develop their own judgement,” he said.

“So in a military conflict between high-tech powers, it’s of colossal significance.”

He said that while the Soviet Union had vast military might during the Cold War, China had greater economic strength and technological expertise.

“The Soviet Union had no economic capacity. They had military technological capacity,” he said.

“(They) didn’t have developmental technological capacity as China does. China is a huge economic power in addition to being a significant military power.”

Kissinger served as secretary of state to President Richard Nixon and President Gerald Ford between 1973 and 1977. He was the architect of the strategy that saw the US improve its relations with China as part of a bid to drive a wedge between the country and its erstwhile Communist ally, Russia.

The 97 year-old is regarded as one of the most influential figures in foreign policy in the last 50 years, though is reviled for some over US military policy during the Vietnam War and its support of right-wing dictatorships in South America during the 1970s.

Under President Donald Trump, relations with China worsened, with the nations imposing a series of economic sanctions on each other. President Joe Biden has maintained the US’ hawkish stance towards China, with a recent meeting between US and Chinese diplomats in Alaska resulting in mutual recriminations.

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Chinese officials suggest the US should handle its own human rights problems and not meddle in China’s affairs

blinken anchorage
US and Chinese officials had a tense first meeting since Biden’s inauguration in Anchorage, Alaska.

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a tense first meeting with top Chinese officials in Anchorage, Alaska.
  • Chinese diplomats said the US should focus on issues like Black Lives Matter instead of meddling.
  • Blinken brought up China’s actions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, which Chinese diplomats rebuffed.
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China has told the US to focus on its own human rights issues – like the Black Lives Matter movement – and not meddle in the country’s internal affairs particularly concerning Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Xinjiang.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken engaged in a war of words with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and state councilor Wang Yi in Anchorage, Alaska, as the two sides kicked off a tense first meeting since Biden’s inauguration.

Blinken, Wang, and Yang traded barbs over their parallel meeting tables after Blinken said that the US intended to defend a “rules-based order,” particularly regarding China’s actions in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Taiwan. Without this order, Blinken said, it would be “might makes right, winner takes all” and a “much more violent and unstable world.”

“Each of these actions threatens the rules-based order that maintains global stability,” Blinken said, referencing as well Chinese cyber attacks on the US and attempts at economic coercion of US allies.

“That’s why they’re not merely internal matters, and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today,” Blinken said.

Read more: Tens of thousands of Microsoft Exchange customers are under assault from hackers, and experts are warning of unprecedented damage

National security adviser Jake Sullivan echoed Blinken’s statements, saying that China had started an “assault on basic values.”

“We do not seek conflict but we welcome stiff competition,” he said.

Yang responded by warning the US against meddling and “interference” in China’s internal affairs, stating that the country would not accept “unwarranted accusations,” while mocking the US’s own human rights record and domestic stability.

“We hope the United States will do better on human rights. China has made steady progress in human rights and the fact is, there are many problems within the United States regarding human rights, which it has itself admitted,” Yang said.

“The challenges facing the US in human rights are deep-seated and did not just emerge over the last four years. For our two countries, it is important that we manage our respective affairs well, instead of deflecting the blame on someone else in this world.”

He added that the US should “change its own image” and “stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world.”

“Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States,” Yang said.

“The US does not represent the world, it only represents the government of the United States,” he added, contesting the US’s right to speak for other countries.

The contentious back-and-forth continued when Blinken insisted on responding to the Chinese officials, stating that a hallmark of US leadership at home is “a constant quest to, as we say, form a more perfect union.”

“And that quest by definition, acknowledges our imperfections, acknowledges that we’re not perfect,” Blinken said.

He then referred to an early meeting between Biden and President Xi Jinping when both were still vice presidents.

“Biden at the time said ‘it’s never a good bet to bet against America,'” Blinken told Wang and Yang. “And that remains true today.”

The two countries are meeting in Anchorage for two days, for what the US administration aims to be “a broader strategic conversation” about its concerns about China’s recent behavior and to address areas that could be of mutual interest.

Blinken has previously highlighted concerns over China’s political manoeuvres in the South and East China seas, its aggressive economic practices, and the country’s handling of human rights abuses of the ethnic minority Uighur population in Xinjiang – which the US has previously said amounts to genocide.

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