Washington DC: Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday the Biden administration aims to lead the international bloc opposed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine into a broader coalition to counter what it sees as a more serious, long-term threat to global order from China.
In a speech outlining the administration’s China policy, Blinken laid out a three-pillar approach to compete with Beijing in a race to define the 21st century’s economic and military balance.
While the U.S. sees Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine as the most acute and immediate threat to international stability, Blinken said the administration believes China poses a greater danger.
“Even as President Putin’s war continues, we will remain focused on the most serious long-term challenge to the international order — and that is the one posed by the People’s Republic of China,” Blinken said.
“China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order — and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it,” he said. “Beijing’s vision would move us away from the universal values that have sustained so much of the world’s progress over the past 75 years.”
Blinken laid out principles for the administration to marshal its resources, friends, and allies to push back on increasing Chinese assertiveness around the world. Although he made clear that the U.S. does not seek to change China’s political system, rather it wants to offer a tested alternative. “This is not about forcing countries to choose, it’s about giving them a choice,” he said.
However, he also acknowledged that the U.S. has limited ability to directly influence China’s intentions and ambitions and will instead focus on shaping the strategic environment around China. “We can’t rely on Beijing to change its trajectory,” Blinken said in the speech, delivered at George Washington University. “So we will shape the strategic environment around Beijing to advance our vision for an open and inclusive international system.”