Renewing alarm over Beijing’s intentions over Taipei, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday (local time) said that China is ‘no longer comfortable’ with status quo on Taiwan, reported Taiwan News.
During a conversation with the University of Chicago Institute of Politics Founding Director David Axelrod, Blinken said the world is concerned about Taiwan now because it saw what happened to Hong Kong in the past few years.
Voicing alarm over Taiwan, pointing to Beijing’s growing efforts to isolate the nation and the major military exercises it carried out near it in August, Blinken said, “What we’ve seen over the last few years is, I think, China make a decision that it was no longer comfortable with the status quo, a status quo that had prevailed for decades that had actually been successful in terms of the relationship between our countries and managing what is a difficult situation,” he said.
According to him, the status quo has been “vital” to the US because it maintains peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, reported Taiwan News.
Blinken said it’s “a leading competitor” that does not share the US vision for the world, adding, “but competition is one thing, conflict is another, and it’s strongly in our interest to make sure that even as we compete very, very vigorously, we avoid competition veering into conflict.”
The pairs’ conversation covered a wide array of topics including the US’s “re-engagement” with other countries, competition with rising powers Russia and China, COVID-19, and climate change, reported Taiwan News.
Blinken called what Hong Kong went through in recent years and the reversal of development towards democracy one of the most sobering realities for people around the world. He said the “gutting” of China’s so-called “one country, two systems” has had “a profound effect not only for people in Hong Kong but beyond” and is the reason why the world is so concerned about Taiwan.
Blinken is to visit Beijing from Feb. 5 to 6, a US official said, in the first trip by a US secretary of state to the rising Asian power since October 2018.
The trip was decided after US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in November held talks in Bali, Indonesia, on wide-ranging friction between the world’s two largest economic powers.
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