Blinken chides China’s ‘irresponsible’ cut in U.S. communication

Blinken chides China's 'irresponsible' cut in U.S. communication

MANILA, Aug. 6 (Reuters) – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused China of “irresponsible steps” on Saturday by shutting down key channels of communication with Washington, saying his actions in Taiwan showed a shift from prioritizing a peaceful solution to the use of force.

His comments came as Chinese planes and warships practiced for an attack on Taiwan on Saturday, island officials said, as part of a series of steps Beijing took after a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this week. read more

China’s retaliation for halting bilateral processes in eight key areas, including defense, narcotics, cross-border crime and climate change, were measures that would punish the world, not just the United States, Blinken told a news conference in Manila.

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“This includes various channels from military to military, which are vital to avoid miscommunication and avert crises,” he said.

“Suspension of climate cooperation is not punishing the United States, it is punishing the world, especially developing countries. We must not hold cooperation on issues of global importance hostage because of the differences between our two countries.”

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

Tackling climate change has been an important area of ​​collaboration between the two superpowers and the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. read more

Blinken said the United States had heard concerns from allies about what he called China’s dangerous and destabilizing actions around Taiwan, but Washington would remain steadfast in its handling of the situation.

He said he informed Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a regional meeting in Cambodia that the United States was determined to maintain communication channels to avoid miscalculations, as countries around the world expected it to do.

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

“We are keeping our channels of communication with China open, aiming to avoid escalation due to misunderstanding or miscommunication.”

He added: “Maintaining dialogue is arguably even more important when we are in a period of heightened tensions… We are trying to de-escalate those tensions. And we think dialogue is a very important part of that. “

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Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Additional reporting by Karen Lema; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Kim Coghill

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