ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - China is increasingly "undermining" the international order, but the US will continue to seek cooperation with Beijing "wherever we can" while standing up for the rules-based order, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday.
"We stand ready to increase our direct communication with Beijing across a full range of issues," the top diplomat said while addressing the Asia Society at George Washington University.
"And we hope that that can happen. But we cannot rely on Beijing change its trajectory. So we will shape the strategic environment around Beijing to advance our vision for an open, inclusive international system," Blinken added.
The comments come as Washington continues to pursue greater consensus among its international partners to check China's actions across a broad range of issues, from disputes over intellectual property protections, to maritime and other border disagreements, as well as Beijing's ambitions to formally control Taiwan.
The top diplomat's speech presented the broad outline of US policy on those and other issues the Biden administration is seeking to meet as it warns the Chinese government has become "more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad."
Blinken said there is "growing convergence" within the international community "about the need to approach relations with Beijing with more realism," and added Washington would seek to lead a bloc of nations to meet the "long-term challenge to the international order" posed by China.
"We are not looking for conflict or a new Cold War to the contrary, we're determined to avoid both," he said.
"Even as we invest, align, and compete, we will work together with Beijing where our interests overlap. We can’t let the disagreements that divide us, stop us from moving forward on the priorities that demand we work together, for the good of our people and the world," he added.
Blinken's speech comes in the wake of President Joe Biden's comments during a tour of Asia in which he explicitly stated that the US is willing to militarily intervene to stop any Chinese invasion of neighboring Taiwan.
The comments, which are a marked departure from the strategic ambiguity that has defined US policy for decades, roiled China, and US officials, including Blinken, have attempted to walk them back.
"Our policy has not changed. The United States remains committed to our One China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three joint communiques, the six assurances. We oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side," said Blinken.
"We do not support Taiwan independence, and we expect cross strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means. We continue to have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We'll continue to uphold our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act to assist Taiwan and maintain peace sufficiently," he added.
The Taiwan Relations Act commits the US to supplying Taipei with the resources it needs to defend against a potential attack, but it does not explicitly commit the US to militarily stepping in if Taiwan is invaded by China.