Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized China’s “aggressive actions” in Asia while laying out plans to more closely integrate U.S. allies and security partners in Asia, APA reports quoting Bloomberg.
During a key policy speech in Jakarta on Tuesday, Blinken underscored U.S. efforts to deliver high-quality infrastructure and vaccines to the region while working closer on security issues. He said the Biden administration doesn’t want conflict in Asia, and would ensure competition with China doesn’t veer into a “catastrophic” conflict.
We’ll adopt a strategy that more closely weaves together all our instruments of national power — diplomacy, military, intelligence — with those of our allies and partners,” Blinken said on the first stop of a three-nation tour of the region. He reeled off a list of concerns about China, including “claiming open seas their own” and hitting countries that stand up to it with trade restrictions.
“The goal of defending the rules-based order is not to keep any country down,” Blinken said. “Rather, it’s to protect the right of all countries to choose their own path, free from coercion and intimidation.”
Blinken is seeking to rebuild relationships that frayed during President Donald Trump’s term with governments that aren’t part of the Biden administration’s Quad partnership with Australia, India and Japan. Still, Blinken had little to say on the issue of trade, where regional leaders have pushed for the U.S. to offer something just as substantive as the 11-nation deal Trump exited in 2017.