China-US Tension

Blinken blasts China and walks over Beijing’s ‘red lines’

Human rights violations, tension in the Indo-Pacific and Taiwan were brought up in a chat with Yang Jiechi

Antony Blinken came up with his own set of “red lines” in a telephone call to China’s leading diplomat Yang Jiechi on Friday.

Earlier this week, the US Secretary of State had to listen to the director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission of China’s Communist Party talk about “cooperation” and “national dignity.” He also made it clear that there were “red lines” that should not be crossed by US President Joe Biden’s administration.

In response, Blinken warned Yang that Washington will hold Beijing “accountable” for human rights “abuses” in Xinjiang province, Tibet and Hong Kong.

Standing firm on democratic values was another State Department “red line.”

“I made clear the US will defend our national interests, stand up for our democratic values, and hold Beijing accountable for its abuses of the international system,” Blinken said about his call to Yang on Twitter.

The facts:

  • Blinken pressed China to condemn the military coup in Myanmar.
  • He reaffirmed that Washington will work with allies to combat Beijing’s move to destabilize the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Blinken also took the Chinese military to task over increased activity in the Taiwan Strait.
  • Democratic Taiwan is considered a renegade province with Beijing threatening to take the island by force if necessary.
  • Blinken reiterated that human rights violations against ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang were “deeply” disturbing.

What was said: “[China will be held] accountable for its efforts to threaten stability in the Indo-Pacific, including … the Taiwan Strait and its undermining of the rules-based international system,” Blinken said during the telephone call with Yang, the State Department confirmed.

Reaction to the news: “No one can stop the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” Yang responded, according to a statement on the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website

China Factor comment: Biden is in no rush to engage with Beijing. On Thursday, he described China as the “most serious competitor” to the US. He also criticized President Xi Jinping’s government for its “attack on human rights, intellectual property” violations “and global governance.” Relations are still strained between the two nations and that is unlikely to change in the near future.

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