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US Aims to Leverage Bloc Against China 05/26 06:20

   U.S. officials say the Biden administration is aiming 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.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. officials say the Biden administration is aiming 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.

   The officials said Secretary of State Antony Blinken will lay out a 
three-pillar approach to competing with Beijing in a race to define the 21st 
century's economic and military balance in a Thursday speech outlining the 
administration's China policy.

   While the U.S. sees Russia as the most acute and immediate threat to 
international stability, the officials said the administration believes China 
poses a greater danger and is marshaling its resources, friends and allies to 
push back on increasing Chinese assertiveness around the world.

   The officials acknowledged that the U.S. has limited ability to directly 
influence China's intentions and ambitions. They said the administration would 
focus instead on shaping the strategic environment around China.

   The officials spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity to preview 
Blinken's speech, to be delivered at George Washington University. The speech 
follows President Joe Biden's just-concluded visits to South Korea and Japan, 
where China loomed large in discussions.

   Biden raised eyebrows during that trip when he said that the United States 
would act militarily to help Taiwan defend itself in the event of an invasion 
by China, which regards the island as a renegade province.

   The administration scrambled to insist that Biden was not changing American 
policy and the officials said Blinken will restate that the U.S. has not 
changed its position. Blinken will say that Washington still holds to its "One 
China" policy, which recognizes Beijing but allows for unofficial links with 
and arms sales to Taipei.

   The officials said Blinken will make the case that the global response to 
Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine serves as a template for 
dealing with China's efforts to mold a new and unpredictable world order to 
replace the rules and institutions that have guided relations between states 
since the end of World War II.

   One official said that Blinken will tell his audience that "by preventing 
Putin from achieving his aims, we believe we are greatly strengthening our hand 
to defend and uphold this order against challenges by others."

   And, the official said, Blinken will note that "China is the one country 
that has the intention as well as the economic, technological, military and 
diplomatic means to advance a different vision of international order."

   Blinken will say that the administration intends to leverage its success in 
rallying support for Ukraine against Russia to align U.S. allies and partners 
to counter China, according to the officials. Investment in domestic U.S. 
infrastructure and technology along with stepping up diplomatic outreach to 
potentially vulnerable countries are other elements of the policy, the 
officials said.

   In the latest manifestation of China's push to expand its reach that has 
drawn concern from the U.S. and other democracies, Chinese Foreign Minister 
Wang Yi on Thursday began an eight-nation tour of Pacific islands during which 
Beijing hopes to strike a sweeping agreement that covers everything from 
security to fisheries.

   Wang opened his tour in the Solomon Islands, which last month signed a 
security cooperation pact with China that some fear could lead to a Chinese 
military presence there. The agreement was finalized shortly after the Biden 
administration announced it would open a U.S. embassy in the Solomons as part 
of its efforts to engage in the greater Indo-Pacific region.

   The Biden administration has largely kept in place confrontational policies 
toward China adopted by its predecessor in response to Chinese actions in its 
western Xinjiang region, Hong Kong, Tibet and the South China Sea.

   And, while the administration sees areas for working with Beijing, such as 
combatting climate change, it will not trade cooperation for compromising on 
its principles regarding human rights and rule of law, the officials said.

 
 
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