Blinken criticizes China’s “irresponsible” cut to US communications

MANILA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken accused China on Saturday of taking “irresponsible steps” by cutting off key channels of communication with Washington, and said its actions in Taiwan showed a move from prioritizing a peaceful solution toward the use of force.

His comments come as Chinese planes and warships on Saturday trained for an attack on Taiwan, island officials said, as part of a raft of steps Beijing has taken following a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this week. Read more

Blinken told a news conference in Manila that China’s response to halting bilateral operations in eight key areas including defense, narcotics, cross-border crime and climate change is steps that will punish the world, not just the United States.

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“Those include several military-to-military channels, which are vital to avoid misunderstandings and avoid crises,” he said.

“The suspension of climate cooperation is not punishing the United States, it is punishing the world, especially the developing world. We should not take cooperation hostage on matters of global concern because of the differences between our two countries.”

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks during a meeting with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, August 6, 2022. Ezra Acayan/Pool via REUTERS

Tackling climate change has been a key area of ​​cooperation between the two superpowers and the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Read more

Blinken said the United States had been hearing allies’ concerns about what he described as China’s dangerous and destabilizing actions around Taiwan, but that Washington would remain firm in its handling of the situation.

He said he told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a regional meeting in Cambodia that the United States is determined to continue channels of communication to prevent arithmetic errors, as expected by countries around the world.

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“So let me be clear that the United States does not believe that an escalation of the situation is in the interest of Taiwan, the region, or our national security,” he said.

“We will keep our channels of communication with China open, with the intention of avoiding escalation due to misunderstanding or misunderstanding.”

He added, “It can be said that continuing dialogue is more important when we are in a period of heightened tensions… We seek to de-escalate those tensions. We believe that dialogue is a very important component of that.”

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David Brunstrom reports. Additional reporting by Karen Lima. Written by Martin Petty; Editing by Kim Coogle

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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