Blinken: China should not hold global problems “hostage”

MANILA: US Secretary of State Antony They blink said on Saturday that China should not hold hostage talks on major global issues such as the climate crisis after Beijing severed contacts with Washington in retaliation for the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosivisit him Taiwan earlier this week.
Blinken was speaking at an online press conference with his Filipino counterpart in Manila after meeting President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and other senior officials as relations between Washington and Beijing plummeted to their worst level in years.
Pelosi’s trip to the self-ruled island angered China, which claims Taiwan as its territory to be annexed by force if necessary.
On Thursday, China began military exercises off the coast of Taiwan and on Friday cut off contacts with the US on vital issues, including military issues and crucial climate cooperation, as well as sanctions against Pelosi’s visit.
“We must not hold cooperation on issues of global concern hostage because of the differences between our two countries,” Blinken said.
“Others rightly expect us to continue working on issues that matter to their people’s lives and livelihoods as well as our own.”
He cited cooperation on climate change as a key area where China is cutting ties that “don’t punish the United States — they punish the world.”
“The world’s biggest carbon emitter is now refusing to commit to fighting the climate crisis,” Blinken said, adding that China’s launch of ballistic missiles that fell in the waters around Taiwan was a dangerous and destabilizing act.
“What happens to the Taiwan Strait affects the entire region. In many ways it affects the whole world because the strait, like the South China Sea, is a critical waterway,” he said, noting that almost half of the world’s container fleet and nearly 90% of the world’s largest ships transit through the waterway .
China is closing “channels between the military that are vital to avoid miscommunication and avoid crises, but also to cooperation on transnational crime and counter-narcotics, which helps keep people in the United States, China and beyond “, he said .
Despite China’s actions, Blinken said he told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Friday in Cambodia, where they were attending the annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, that the US did not want to escalate the situation.
“We seek to reduce these tensions and we think dialogues are a very important element of that,” he said, adding that the U.S. “will keep our channels of communication with China open with the intention of avoiding escalation to misunderstandings or misunderstandings.”
Blinken is the highest-ranking US official to visit the Philippines since Marcos Jr. took office on June 30 after a landslide election victory. In his brief meeting with Blinken Marcos Jr. mentioned that he was surprised by the turn of events surrounding Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this week.
“It just demonstrates what the intensity of this conflict was,” Marcos Jr. said, based on a transcript released by the presidential palace.
“This only demonstrates how unstable the international diplomatic scene is not only in the region,” he added.
Marcos Jr. praised the vital relationship between Manila and Washington, which are treaty allies, and US aid to the Philippines over the years.
Blinken reiterated Washington’s commitment to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines and “to work with you on common challenges.”
Blinken told reporters that he also discussed with Marcos Jr. strengthening democracy and the US commitment to work with the Philippines to protect the rule of law, protect human rights, freedom of expression and protect civil society groups “that are critical to our alliance.”
Describing the Philippines as an “indispensable friend”, he said he reiterated to the president that an armed attack against Philippine forces, public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea “would invoke US mutual defense commitments”.
Blinken arrived Friday evening in Manila after attending ASEAN meetings in Cambodia, where he was joined by Chinese and Russian counterparts.
ASEAN foreign ministers called for “maximum restraint” as China staged military exercises around Taiwan and targeted the US, fearing the situation “could destabilize the region and could ultimately lead to miscalculations, serious confrontation, open conflicts and unpredictable consequences among the great powers’.
In Manila, Blinken was also scheduled to visit a vaccination clinic and meet with groups helping to fight the coronavirus outbreak, then go to a clean energy fair and meet with U.S. Embassy officials before flying to Saturday night.
Shortly before Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, as speculation swirled that her plane might make a brief stop at the former US Clark Air Force Base north of Manila to refuel, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said in a televised interview that he hoped “the Philippine country to strictly abide by the one-China principle and handle all Taiwan-related issues with prudence to ensure the steady and stable development of Sino-Philippines relations.”
Huang’s remarks drew sharp rebuke from the opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who said that “the ambassador should not pontificate on such policies, especially considering that his country stubbornly and steadfastly refuses to recognize an award rendered by an international arbitral tribunal and ignores and disregards international law in the West Philippine Sea, when it suits her interest.”
Hontiveros was referring to a 2016 arbitration award in a Philippine complaint that invalidated China’s vast territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea. She used the Filipino name for the disputed waters.
China dismissed the decision, which was hailed by the US and Western allies, as a fraud and continues to oppose it.

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