South Asia and Beyond

Challenge Posed By China Different, Says Blinken

Spelling out eight top foreign policy priorities of the Biden administration, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the U.S. relationship with China ‘the biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century’. It came on a day President Biden issued a 24-page document outlining his vision for how America will engage with the world.

Blinken said many countries, including Russia, Iran and North Korea posed serious challenges to the United States but the challenge posed by China is different. “China is the only country with the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to seriously challenge the stable and open international system.”

So what would the rules of U.S. engagement with China be? “Our relationship with China will be competitive when it should be, collaborative when it can be, and adversarial when it must be. The common denominator is the need to engage China from a position of strength, said Blinken.

The other priorities include ending the pandemic, reviving the economy at home and abroad, renewing democracy, reforming immigration, rebuilding alliances, tackling climate change and securing U.S. leadership in technology.

And while democracy figures high on the agenda, the U.S. will not promote democracy through costly military interventions or by attempting to overthrow authoritarian regimes by force, said Blinken, “We have tried these tactics in the past. However well intentioned, they haven’t worked.”