World Blinken warns China that action against Taiwan would be ‘mistake’
Blinken seeks Israel's 'equal' treatment of Palestinians
Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Friday on Israel to ensure "equal" treatment of the Palestinians as the new US administration cautiously steps up efforts for a two-state solution. In a telephone call with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Blinken "emphasized the administration's belief that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy," State Department spokesman Ned Price said. Blinken also committed to "strengthening all aspects of the US-Israel partnership" and voiced support for the Jewish state's agreements over the past year to normalize relations with four more Arab nation
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the United States is concerned by China’s “increasingly aggressive actions” directed at Taiwan and remains committed to ensuring peace and stability in the western Pacific region.
Blinken said on Sunday that the Biden administration is committed to ensuring that Taiwan “has the ability to defend itself”.
US loosens restrictions on Taiwan contacts in defiance of China
Changes will allow US officials to invite Taiwan officials into government buildings in DC and enter Taiwan mission.The United States still considers Beijing to be China’s legitimate government, consistent with its switch of recognition in 1979, but will do away with some of the convoluted rules that restricted dealings with Taiwan, including in-person meetings.
“What we’ve seen, and what is of real concern to us, is increasingly aggressive actions by the government in Beijing directed at Taiwan,” Blinken said during an interview on NBC programme Meet the Press.
“It would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change the existing status quo by force.”
He declined to comment when asked if the US would consider military action against China.
Blinken’s comments come days after the US warned China against what Taiwan, which Beijing views as part of China, and the Philippines had described as increasingly aggressive Chinese naval and aerial exercises.
Manila has criticised Beijing for sending what it called “maritime militia” vessels to a wide area within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, while Taiwan said Chinese planes had crossed into the island’s air defence area.
Blinken heads back to Brussels as Afghanistan decision looms
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads to Brussels on Monday for his second trip within weeks to consult NATO allies as a decision looms on the war in Afghanistan. Blinken is also expected to discuss intensifying EU-backed diplomacy on reviving the Iran nuclear accord and rising tensions with Russia as it builds up its military near Ukraine. He will start talks Tuesday in Brussels and be joined by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who is also visiting key European ally Germany as well as Israel, which is critical of the diplomacy with Iran."I look forward to productive conversations with allies on a wide range of shared priorities.
On Monday, the Chinese carrier, Liaoning, also led a naval exercise near Taiwan, and Beijing said that such drills will become regular occurrences.
Beijing has blamed the increased tensions on Washington after it said it had tracked the USS John McCain destroyer through the Taiwan Strait last week.
US President Joe Biden has continued to take a hard line against Beijing on several issues, including the Chinese government’s treatment of its Muslim Uighur minority in the western region of Xinjiang, which the Biden administration has described as a “genocide“.
US and Chinese officials traded rebukes last month during the first high-ranking meeting between the two governments since Biden took office in January.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, the US State Department announced it would lift rules to make it easier for US government officials to meet with Taiwanese representatives.
The updated guidance came in response to an act of Congress that required a review.
“These new guidelines liberalize guidance on contacts with Taiwan, consistent with our unofficial relations,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
Price also said the guidelines would “provide clarity throughout the Executive Branch on effective implementation of our ‘one China’ policy” – a reference to the longstanding US policy under which Washington officially recognises Beijing rather than Taipei.
US vows to lead on climate, press world to reduce coal .
The United States will press all nations to reduce reliance on coal, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday, warning "we won't have much of a world left" without stronger leadership from Washington on climate change. "Our diplomats will challenge the practices of countries whose action -- or inaction -- is setting us back," Blinken was to say in a speech ahead of President Joe Biden's climate summit later this week, according to early excerpts.