U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused China of seeking to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait with missile tests and military drills following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.
Blinken spoke at the regional summit held in Cambodia last Friday, which was attended also by Wang Yi (Chinese Foreign Minister) and Sergei Lavrov (Russian counterpart). The top US diplomat said there was no justification for China’s military response in reaction to what he called a peaceful visit from Pelosi, including firing missiles into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to a Western official who was in attendance.
Speaking just after Lavrov and Wang, Blinken asked the other foreign ministers in the room — including representatives from 10 Southeast Asian nations, Australia, Japan, South Korea, India and New Zealand — how they would feel if China fired missiles into their EEZs. He then said the U.S. policy toward China and Taiwan hasn’t changed, but that Beijing was taking increasingly provocative action to disrupt the status quo, the official said.
The remarks from Blinken show the effort by the U.S. to paint China as the aggressor, particularly after Beijing has seen some success in portraying Pelosi’s visit as a provocation. Top Southeast Asian diplomats earlier this week urged “maximum restraint” in the Taiwan Strait, warning that developments could “destabilize the region.”
Further afield, the United Arab Emirates — a major US ally in the Gulf — criticized “provocative visits” after Pelosi’s trip and affirmed support for “China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
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