By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, May 4: The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused China of operating “more repressively at home and more aggressively abroad” a ‘60 Minutes’ CBS interview aired on Sunday. Secretary Blinken said that even though the US did not want to hold China down, it would not allow it to undermine the “rule-based international order”. He also noted that a military confrontation was profoundly against the interests of both US and China.
He said that President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping talked about a wide range of topics in their first phone conversation, which lasted two hours, in February. “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. Beijing has been calling on the Biden administration to improve relations that deteriorated under former President Donald Trump.
The US top diplomat accused Beijing of stealing hundreds of billions of dollars in trade secrets and intellectual property, “We don’t have the luxury of not dealing with China. There are real complexities to the relationship, whether it’s the adversarial piece, whether it’s the competitive piece, whether it’s the co-operative piece.” However, he said that although China was acting in unfair and adversarial ways, “We’re much more effective and stronger when we’re bringing like-minded and similarly aggrieved countries together to say to Beijing: ‘This can’t stand, and it won’t stand’.”
This interview was aired ahead of Blinken’s visit to London for the first face-to-face meeting of foreign ministers from the G-7 countries in more than two years on Monday. Biden has identified competition with China as his administration’s greatest foreign policy challenge. In his first address to the Congress last week, he pledged to maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the Indo-Pacific and to boost U.S. technological development. The US Secretary of State said he had told President Xi that “we welcome the competition” to be a dominant global power.