Not looking for new Cold War: Blinken on China policy

STORY: “We are not looking for conflict or a new Cold war. To the contrary, we are determined to avoid both.”

The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said Thursday the United States does not want to cut off China from the global economy or try to change its political system.

But it does want Beijing to stick to international rules.

“We will defend and strengthen the international law, agreements, principles and institutions that maintain peace and security, protect the rights of individuals and sovereign nations and make it possible for all countries, including the United States and China to coexist and cooperate.”

It was a long-awaited speech on the Biden White House’s policy toward China, 17 months since Joe Biden was sworn in.

In his 45 minutes, Blinken credited the hard work of the Chinese people for the country's historic economic transformation in the last four decades.

However, he also said that under China’s President Xi Jinping, the ruling Chinese Communist Party has become “more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad”, and called Beijing “most serious long-term challenge” to the world order and global values.

He outlined a strategy to compete with China by beefing up ties with U.S. allies and partners.

"We cannot rely on Beijing to change its trajectory so we will shape the strategic environment around Beijing to advance our vision for an open, inclusive, international system.”

Biden’s administration has drawn criticisms from Republicans for not announcing a formal strategy on China, Washington's main strategic rival.

In response to Blinken’s speech, a spokesman at China's Washington embassy, Liu Pengyu, said, "China and the U.S. both stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation."

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