US-China Ties Growing More Adversarial Due to ‘Much More Aggressive’ Beijing, Blinken Says

By Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li is a reporter for The Epoch Times based in Europe.
January 26, 2022Updated: January 27, 2022

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he sees increasingly “adversarial” aspects of the United States relationship with the Chinese regime.

The change is largely because the Chinese regime has become “much more assertive, much more aggressive, whether it’s in the region or beyond, by a variety of means,” Blinken said during a Jan. 24 online event.

The top U.S. diplomat noted the ties are growingly adversarial, rather than competitive and cooperative, two elements undergirding the Biden administration’s policies toward China.

Blinken leveled criticisms against China’s overseas infrastructure investment, state-backed investment in sensitive industries and technologies, and its attitudes toward human rights and intellectual property.

An effective way to guard against “problematic investments” from China or protect U.S. technology from flowing into the hands of the Chinese military is to coordinate with allies and be more engaged in international institutions, according to Blinken.

“When it’s the United States taking this on alone, we’re 20 or 25 percent of world GDP [gross domestic product],” Blinken said. “When we’re doing it in concert with partners and allies in Europe or in Asia, it’s 40, 45 percent, 50 percent of world GDP.

“That’s a lot harder for China to ignore.”

Building alliances and partnerships to counter a range of Chinese Communist Party economic and military abuses is a key aspect of the Biden administration’s approach to China.

The United States, European Union, and Japan in November 2021 announced they would renew a trilateral partnership to address challenges posed by the non-market practices.

Blinken also made his first overseas visit as secretary of state to Southeast Asia, aiming to bolster partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region. Washington is increasing investment and trade in countries such as Indonesia, which has heavy economic reliance on China.

Regarding tech competition, the administration will push to get the $52 billion CHIPS Act passed, Blinken said.

The Senate passed the legislation, including $52 billion for expanding domestic chip production, in June 2021, but it has stalled for months in the House. Blinken called the bill a “major step forward” to boost the country’s ability to compete with Chinese technology. The House of Representatives on Jan. 25 unveiled its version of the bill in a bid to negotiate a final bill with the Senate this year.

While Blinken noted the Chinese regime’s growing aggression around the world, he said that fully decoupling from Beijing would be “faulty” and potentially “misguided.”

“Again, done the right way, trade, investment, including with and from China, can be a good thing.

“But if the playing field is not level—and it’s not, because of the many practices that China engages in—that is a problem that has to be very effectively addressed,” he said.

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