Blinken: China's 'Aggressive Actions' a Cause of 'Concern' in Asia, Threaten $3 Trillion in Commerce
07:53 GMT 14.12.2021 (Updated: 18:35 GMT 19.10.2022)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has justified a greater American economic and security involvement in the Asia-Pacific, linking stability in the region to the “prosperity” of the United States. Blinken said on Tuesday that the “Indo-Pacific region will shape the trajectory of the world in the 21st century”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday called out China for its "aggressive actions" across Asia, as he argued that nations in the region wanted the "behaviour to change".
"That's why there is so much concern from North East Asia to South East Asia, from the Mekong River to the Pacific Islands, about Beijing's aggressive actions", Blinken said during a key speech in Jakarta.
"Claiming open seas as their own... Distorting open markets through subsidies with state-run companies… Denying exports or revoking deals with country's policies it doesn't agree with… Engaging in illegal fishing and other activities. Countries across the region want this behaviour to change. We do too”, he added.
The US top diplomat's address sought to underline the Joe Biden administration’s policy towards the Indo-Pacific region.
“That's why we are determined to ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, where Beijing's actions threaten the movement of commerce worth $3 trillion every year”, he remarked.
“It’s worth remembering tied up in those colossal members is the actual livelihoods of millions of people around the world”, Blinken also reckoned.
Blinken claimed in his address that the “goal” of ensuring a “rules-based order” and “freedom of navigation” in the waters of the Asia-Pacific wasn’t meant to keep any country down.
“It is not a contest between a US-centric region and a China-centric region”.
26 November 2021, 16:30 GMT
During his address, Blinken underscored that Washington’s “vision” for the region was centred on “five core elements”.
“First, we will advance a free and open Indo-Pacific in which problems will be dealt with openly, rules will be reached transparently and applied fairly, goods and ideas and people will flow freely – across land, cyberspace, and the open seas – with governance that is transparent and responsive to the people”, said the US secretary of state.
Blinken emphasised that forging closer connections with other countries of the region, promoting “broad-based prosperity”, building a “more resilient Indo-Pacific”, and bolstering the security in the area were other key components of the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific policy.
Blinken highlighted the US assistance in meeting the regional vaccine needs and pointed out the infrastructure financing
being offered by Washington, as the US secretary of state listed some of the measures undertaken by the United States to promote “resilience” and “broad-based prosperity” among the countries of the region,
“Of the 300 million doses of safe, effective vaccines the United States has distributed worldwide, we have sent more than 100 million doses to the Indo-Pacific”, stated Blinken.
“We will deepen our treaty alliances with Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand. We will foster greater cooperation among these allies and seek ways to knit our allies together with our partners – as we have done with the Quad”, he also said, referring to a four-nation grouping comprising Australia, India, Japan, and the US.
“We will deliver the quality, high-standard infrastructure the region seeks. Build Back Better World, which we launched alongside G7 partners in June, is committed to mobilising hundreds of billions of dollars in transparent, sustainable financing over the coming years", said the top US diplomat.
Blinken also praised the trilateral AUKUS security alliance between Washington, Canberra, and London for promoting “peace and stability” in the Indo-Pacific, arguing that the grouping was one of the “prime examples” of how the US would like to build deeper ties in the region with its allies and partners to ensure security.
22 November 2021, 14:45 GMT
China views groupings such as the Quad and AUKUS
, both mentioned by Blinken in his speech, with unease.
While Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has compared the Quad to an "Asian NATO", Beijing has also blasted AUKUS for “inciting” a nuclear arms race in the region.
As part of the AUKUS arrangement, the US and the UK have agreed to provide the Royal Australian Navy with advanced nuclear submarine technology (SSN) to help it develop attack subs.