Blinken: China should not hold global concerns ‘hostage’

MANILA: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday that China should not hold hostage talks on key global issues such as the climate crisis, after Beijing severed communication with Washington in retaliation to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi‘s visit Taiwan earlier this week.
Blinken spoke during an online press conference with his Philippine counterpart in Manila after meeting newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr and other top officials, as relations between Washington and Beijing plummeted to a bad worst in years.
Pelosi’s trip to the self-governing island angered China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary.
On Thursday, China conducted military exercises off the coasts of Taiwan and on Friday severed communication with the United States on important issues, including military and cooperation issues. key climate impacts, like sanctions on Pelosi’s visit.
“We should not hold cooperation hostage on global issues of concern because of the differences between our two countries,” Blinken said.
“Others rightly expect us to continue to address issues that are important to the lives and livelihoods of their people as well as our own.”
He said that cooperation on climate change is an important area where China stops communicating “don’t punish the US – punish the world”.
“The world’s largest carbon emitter is now refusing to join the fight against the climate crisis,” Blinken said, adding that China’s firing of ballistic missiles into the waters around Taiwan was an act of aggression. dangerous and destabilizing action.
“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 an important waterway,” he said, noting that nearly half of the global container fleet and nearly 90% of the largest ships The world moves through this waterway.
China’s closure of “military communication channels, which are crucial to avoiding misinformation and avoiding crises, as well as cooperation against transnational crime and anti-drugs, helps keep people safe in China.” USA, China and more,” he said.
Despite China’s actions, Blinken said he told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Friday in Cambodia, where they attended the annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, that the US did not want to escalate the situation.
“We seek to defuse those tensions and we think dialogue is a very important element,” he said.
Blinken is the highest-ranking US official to visit the Philippines since Marcos Jr took office on June 30 following a landslide election victory. During a brief meeting with Blinken, Marcos Jr said he was surprised by the change in regards to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this week.
“It just proves it – how intense that conflict was,” Marcos Jr. said, based on a transcript released by the presidential administration.
“This demonstrates how the international diplomatic landscape is changing, not just in the region,” he added.
Marcos Jr praised the important relationship between Manila and Washington, the two treaty allies, and the US support to the Philippines over the years.
Blinken reiterated Washington’s commitment to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines and “work with you on common challenges”.
Blinken told reporters that he also discussed with Marcos Jr about strengthening democracy and the United States’ commitment to working with the Philippines to uphold the rule of law, protect human rights, free speech and protect civil society groups, “which are so important to our union”.
Describing the Philippines as “an irreplaceable friend”, he said he reiterated to the president that an armed attack on Philippine forces, ships or aircraft in the South China Sea “would invoke commitment to the mutual defense of the United States”.
Blinken arrived in Manila on Friday night after attending ASEAN meetings in Cambodia, where he joined his Chinese and Russian counterparts.
ASEAN foreign ministers called for “maximum restraint” as China conducts military exercises around Taiwan and against the US, fearing the situation “could destabilize the region and could eventually lead to miscalculation, serious confrontation, open conflict and unpredictable consequences between great powers.”
In Manila, Blinken was also scheduled to visit a vaccination room and meet with groups helping fight the coronavirus outbreak, then attend a clean energy fair and meet with US Embassy staff before fly out on Saturday night.
Just prior to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, when there was speculation that her plane might make a brief stop at the former Clark Air Base north of Manila for refueling, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said in a television interview that he hoped “the Philippine side will strictly adhere to the one-China principle and handle all issues related to Taiwan with caution to ensure China-to-China relations.” National-Philippines steady and steady development”.
Huang’s remarks drew strong criticism from opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros, who said that “the ambassador should not criticize such policies, especially considering his country’s persistence decisively and steadfastly refuses to recognize the award of the international arbitral tribunal and ignores and disregards it. law in the West Philippine Sea when it suits her interests. ”
Hontiveros referred to the 2016 arbitration award against the Philippines’ claim that invalidated China’s vast territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea. She uses the name Philippines for the disputed waters.
China dismissed that ruling, which was welcomed by the US and its Western allies, as a sham and continued to defy it.

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