US criticizes China’s actions in Asia

The US secretary of state called on China to stop acting “that causes concern” in the Indo-Pacific, as Washington seeks to strengthen regional alliances.

Speaking during a visit to Indonesia today, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington will work with allies and partners to “defend the rules-based order” and that countries should have the right to “choose the path own”.

“That’s why there’s so much concern from Northeast Asia to Southeast Asia, from the Mekong River to Pacific island nations, about Beijing’s drastic actions,” Blinken said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks on the Indo-Pacific strategy of President Joe Biden's administration at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta today.  Photo: AFP.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks on the Indo-Pacific strategy of President Joe Biden’s administration at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta today. Photo: AFP.

The US Secretary of State said that these “drastic actions” of China include claiming sovereignty over international waters, distorting the open market by subsidizing state-owned companies, refusing to export goods and services. import or cancel transactions with countries whose policies China does not agree with.

“Countries in the region want this behavior to change, so do we,” he said, adding that Washington was “determined to ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea,” adding that its actions Beijing in the South China Sea threatens trade flows worth more than $3 trillion a year.

However, Blinken stressed “this is not a competition focused on the US or China”, and said Washington wants to avoid conflict in the Indo-Pacific. He also affirmed that the US wants to ensure “peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”.

China has not commented on Mr. Blinken’s statement.

The US-China relationship has been strained in recent years because of disagreements over the origin of Covid-19, trade competition and the issue of Taiwan, Hong Kong or the East Sea. US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held an online summit last month to de-escalate tensions, but no breakthrough was achieved.

Indonesia is the first stop on Foreign Minister Blinken’s Southeast Asia tour, followed by Malaysia and Thailand. This is seen as part of the Biden administration’s effort to strengthen ties with Asia, after the turmoil and uncertainty under President Donald Trump.

Huyen Le (Follow AFP)

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