Washington: US State Secretary Antony Blinken on Saturday said that China should not hold cooperation on matters of global concern hostage because of its differences over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
“We should not hold hostage cooperation on matters of global concern because of differences between our two countries. Others are rightly expecting us to continue to work together on issues that matter to the lives and livelihoods of their people as well as our own,” Blinken said during a press conference with Philippines counterpart Enrique Manalo in Manila.
Moreover, State Secretary Blinken expressed displeasure over China’s irresponsible decisions and said, “Since their missile launches, Beijing has taken an irresponsible step of a different kind: They’ve shut down eight different areas where our two countries (US and China) have been able to work together.”
He noted that almost half the global container fleet, nearly 90 percent of the world’s largest ships, pass through the Taiwan Strait this year.
“Those include several military-to-military channels which are vital for avoiding miscommunication and avoiding crisis, but also cooperation on transnational crime and counter narcotics, which help keep people in the United States, China, and beyond safe,” State Department press release said quoting Blinken.
US State Secretary added that China has also suspended all climate cooperation with the United States. “The world’s largest carbon emitter is now refusing to engage on combatting the climate crisis. Suspending climate cooperation doesn’t punish the United States; it punishes the world, particularly the developing world.”
Blinken also said that the talks with Philippines was related to the security partnership between the countries. He reiterated the ironclad commitment to the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defence Treaty and reaffirmed that an armed attack on Philippines’ armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke U.S mutual defence commitments under that treaty.
“In addition to working with the Philippines to help secure its maritime domain, we also partner with Filipino fisherman and scientific researchers to preserve and protect the Philippines’ precious maritime resources, which are under threat from illegal fishing and environmental destruction by outside actors,” he added.
State Secretary asserted that US always stand by their partners. He said that it is important to underscore this because of what’s happening in the Taiwan Strait.
He mentioned that since China launched nearly a dozen ballistic missiles toward Taiwan two days ago, US has been hearing from allies and partners across the region who are deeply concerned about the destabilizing and dangerous actions.
“Maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is vital, not just for Taiwan but for the Philippines and many other countries. What happens in the Taiwan Strait affects the entire region. In many ways, it affects the entire world because the strait, like the South China Sea, is a critical waterway.”
The Philippines knows how alarming this is – as a nation of thousands of islands, they’re especially vulnerable to climate change, he continued saying at the conference.
“China walking away from climate talks could have lasting consequences for the future of the region – the future of our planet,” Biden said expressing concerns over the Chinese aggressive behaviour in the South China sea.
“Our allies and partners across the region have told us in no uncertain terms that they are looking for responsible leadership right now. So let me be clear. The United States doesn’t believe that it’s in the interest of Taiwan, the region, or own national security to escalate this situation.”
Blinken noted that US will keep its channels of communication with China open with the intent of avoiding escalation due to misunderstanding or miscommunication.
In the days to come, the State Secretary said, United States will remain steady. “We’ll stand with the Philippines, with all our allies and partners. We’ll work through regional organizations like ASEAN to enable friends in the region to make their own decisions free from coercion. And we’ll continue to support Taiwan and cross-strait peace and stability because we know that a free and open Indo-Pacific demands it.”