US view on China “seriously miscalibrated” – Chinese FM Wang Yi responds to US FM Blinken’s policy speech
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the US view on China and on China-U.S. relations is “seriously miscalibrated.” Wang Yi who is on a visit of eight Pacific Island countries said this on Saturday in Fijian capital Suva in a sharp response to a recent policy speech by his American counterpart Antony Blinken last week who described China as “the most serious long-term challenge to the international order”. During his ongoing 10-day visit of eight Pacific Island countries, Wang is expected to encourage Pacific countries to sign a sweeping regional economic and security deal with China, intensifying geopolitical race to court the region’s nations which started with the news of China planning to build a military base in the Solomon Islands.
Addressing an audience at US-based George Washington University on Thursday, Blinken said China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it. The Biden administration’s approach will be “invest, align, compete”, he said, adding that although the US does not seek conflict with China, it is prepared to defend its interests.
“We will never yield to blackmail or coercion, and will firmly defend China’s sovereignty, security and development interests,” Wang Yi was quoted as saying in a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement. Countries can stage fair competition with each other, and it is natural that China and the US have some competition between them, but it should not be a destructive one, Wang said. The Chinese Foreign Ministry hit back by terming Blinken’s observations as a smear campaign by the US. Chinese leaders have pointed out that whether China and the United States can properly handle their relationship matters to the future of the world, and it is a question of the century needed to be well answered by the two countries, Wang said speaking during the visit of Fiji on Saturday. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday delivered a written speech at the second China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
In his speech, Blinken outlined his administration’s strategy toward China which included building up a network of allies and partners and referred to Washington’s efforts to build close ties at the recently held Quad meeting in Tokyo. Blinken said, “We are not looking for conflict or a new Cold War. To the contrary, we’re determined to avoid both.” He said the US is ready to strengthen diplomacy and increase communication with China “across a full range of issues” and is prepared to work together on matters of mutual interest like climate change and Covid-19, noting that “even as we invest, align and compete, or together with Beijing, where our interests come together”.
Blinken said that US President Joe Biden during his recent trip to the Asian region, reaffirmed US’ vital security alliances with South Korea and Japan and deepened its economic and technology cooperation with both the countries. Biden launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) for prosperity, a first-of-its-kind initiative for the region which experts said, provided the much-desired boost to his Indo-Pacific strategy. “IPEF, as we call it, renews American economic leadership but adapts it for the 21st century by addressing cutting-edge issues like the digital economy, supply chains, clean energy, infrastructure, and corruption, he said. A dozen countries, including India, have already joined. Together, IPEF members make up more than a third of the global economy, Blinken said.
Terming the Quad countries as a leading regional team, he said, it launched a new Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness, so our partners across the region can better monitor the waters near their shores to address illegal fishing and protect their maritime rights and their sovereignty.