Blinken Warns It Would Be ‘Serious Mistake’ for Beijing to Attack Taiwan

Blinken Warns It Would Be ‘Serious Mistake’ for Beijing to Attack Taiwan
Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington on April 5, 2021. (Alexander Drago/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Cathy He

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on April 11 that it would be a “serious mistake” for the Chinese regime to attack Taiwan and expressed “real concern” about Beijing’s growing intimidation against the island.

In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” however, Blinken stopped short of saying whether the United States would respond militarily if the Chinese regime were to seize Taiwan by force, saying he wasn’t “going to get into hypotheticals.”

“All I can tell you is we have a serious commitment to Taiwan being able to defend itself,” he said, referring to the United States’ obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide arms to the island for its self-defense. “We have a serious commitment to peace and security in the Western Pacific.

“In that context, it would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change that status quo by force.”

The Chinese regime, which sees self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory, has in recent months been dialing up military aggression toward the island, which some analysts say is a test of the Biden administration to see whether it will take concrete action to respond. This year, the Chinese military has sent multiple aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on a near-daily basis.

Blinken also criticized Beijing’s early handling of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, saying “it didn’t do what it needed to do.” As a result of this “failure,” the virus “got out of hand faster” with “much more egregious results than it might otherwise,” he said.

The Chinese regime “didn’t do what it needed to do, which was to, in real time, give access to international experts, in real time to share information, in real time to provide real transparency,” Blinken said.

The job now is to create a stronger global health security system to ensure this doesn’t happen again, he said.

“That means making a real commitment to transparency, to information sharing, to access for experts. It means strengthening the World Health Organization and reforming it so it can do that. And China has to play a part in that,” Blinken said.

He emphasized that the world needs to get to the bottom of how the CCP virus originated “to have the best shot possible at preventing it from happening again.”

A recent report into the origins of the virus, prepared by a team of Chinese scientists and foreign experts assembled by the World Health Organization, left unanswered many questions relating to how the virus began its spread. It did, however, find that the possibility that the virus leaked from a lab was “extremely unlikely.”
After its release, the United States and 13 other countries expressed concerns about the report, pointing to the fact that the study was “significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples.”
Previously, Blinken has stopped short of saying the Chinese regime should be held accountable for how it handled the CCP virus outbreak.

He also reiterated that the United States needs to “bring the world together in speaking with one voice” in condemning the Chinese regime’s genocide against ethnic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region. On top of that, the United States should make sure that American companies are not exporting technology that’s being used to aid Beijing’s repression in the region, he said.

Responding to calls for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics over its severe human rights abuses, Blinken said the United States and its allies are not currently “focused” on a boycott.

“We’re not there yet,” Blinken said, of a possible boycott among Western allies. “What we are focused on is talking, consulting closely with our allies and partners, listening to them, listening to concerns.”

Cathy He is the politics editor at the Washington D.C. bureau. She was previously an editor for U.S.-China and a reporter covering U.S.-China relations.
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