US Secretary of State Anthony Blanken: China should not hold global concerns ‘hostage’

MANILA, Philippines – US Secretary of State Anthony Blanken said on Saturday that China should not hold talks on key global issues such as the climate crisis hostage, as Beijing criticized US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week. After cutting off contact with Washington in response. .

Blanken spoke at an online news conference after meeting his Philippine counterpart in Manila with President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and other top officials, as relations between Washington and Beijing fell to their worst level in years.

Pelosi’s trip to the autonomous island angered China, which claims Taiwan could be annexed by force if necessary. China began military exercises off the coast of Taiwan on Thursday and severed ties with the United States on key issues, including military affairs and key climate cooperation, in retaliation for Pelosi’s visit on Friday.

“We must not hold cooperation on issues of global concern hostage because of differences between our two countries,” Blanken said. “Others rightly expect us to continue working on issues that are important to their people’s lives and livelihoods as well as our own.”

He cited cooperation on climate change as a key area where China has cut ties that “doesn’t punish America — it punishes the world.”

“The world’s biggest carbon emitter is now refusing to engage with the climate crisis,” Blanken said, adding that China has been responsible for dumping in the waters around Taiwan. The firing of ballistic missiles was a dangerous and destabilizing act.

Photo: Marcos meets Blankenship in the Philippines amid US-China crisis.

“What happens with the Taiwan Strait affects the whole region. In many ways it affects the whole world because the strait is an important waterway like the South China Sea,” he said, adding that about half The global container fleet and nearly 90 percent of the world’s largest ships pass through the waterway this year.

He said China has “closed military-to-military channels, which are vital to prevent miscommunication and crisis aversion, but also for international crime and counter-narcotics cooperation, which the US, China and its Help keep people out there safe,” he said.

Despite China’s actions, Blanken said he told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Cambodia on Friday, where he attended the annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, that the United States did not want to escalate the situation.

“We try to reduce those tensions and we think dialogue is a very important element of that,” he said, adding that the U.S. “will continue to engage with China with the intention of avoiding misunderstandings or escalating miscommunications.” will keep its channels open.”

Blankenship 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 Blanken, Marcos Jr. mentioned that he was surprised by the turn of events surrounding Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this week.

“It just showed the intensity of the conflict,” Marcos Jr. said, based on a transcript released by the presidential palace.

“It just goes to show how volatile the international diplomatic landscape is not only in the region,” he added.

Marcos Jr. praised the important relationship between Manila and Washington, a treaty ally, and praised US aid to the Philippines over the years.

Blanken reiterated the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines and Washington’s commitment to “work with you on common challenges.”

Blanken told reporters that he also discussed with Marcos Jr. the US commitment to work with the Philippines to strengthen democracy and defend the rule of law, human rights, freedom of expression and the protection of civil society groups. , “that are important to our unity.”

Describing the Philippines as “an irreplaceable friend,” he said he reiterated to the president that an armed attack on Philippine forces, civilian vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would be a “mutual defense of the United States.” will affect commitments.”

Blanken arrived in Manila on Friday night after attending ASEAN meetings in Cambodia, which were also attended by his Chinese and Russian counterparts.

ASEAN foreign ministers called for “greater restraint” as China conducted military exercises around Taiwan and moved against the United States, fearing it could “destabilize the region and ultimately lead to a confrontation between the major powers.” Miscalculations can lead to serious conflicts, open conflicts and unpredictable results.”

In Manila, Blanken visited a vaccination clinic, met with groups helping to fight the coronavirus outbreak and went to a clean energy fair. He also met the staff of the US Embassy before the flight on Saturday night.

Shortly before Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, as speculation grew that her plane might make a brief refueling stop at the former US Clark Air Force Base north of Manila, Chinese Ambassador Huang Zelen said in a TV interview that he hoped “the Philippines will strictly adhere to the one-China principle and deal with all Taiwan-related issues sensibly so that China-Philippines relations remain stable and stable.” Development can be ensured.

Huang’s remarks drew a sharp rebuke from opposition senator Risa Hontiveros, who said “the ambassador should not object to such policies, especially given that his country has stubbornly and steadfastly refuses to recognize the decision of the International Court of Arbitration and ignores the decision of the International Court of in the West Philippine Sea when it suits its interest.

Hontiveros was referring to a 2016 arbitration ruling on a Philippine complaint that invalidated China’s extensive territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea. He used the name Philippines for the disputed waters.

China has rejected the ruling, which has been welcomed by the US and Western allies, and continues to defy it.

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