Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, warned China that Washington would hold Beijing “accountable for its abuses”, in the first high-level interaction between the countries since Joe Biden became president, reported Financial Times.
“In my call with my counterpart in Beijing, Yang Jiechi, I made clear the U.S. will defend our national interests, stand up for our democratic values, and hold Beijing accountable for its abuses of the international system”, tweeted Blinken.
During the phone call Friday, Yang highlighted several major sources of continued tension between the two countries, including Taiwan, according to the Chinese statement. Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democratic island of almost 24 million people, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Beijing has stepped up military activity around Taiwan since Biden took office, sending combat aircraft, including H-6K bombers, into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on several occasions in what was seen as a direct message to the new US administration that China will not relent on its claims of sovereignty over the island.
On Thursday, the US Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer through the Taiwan Strait, the first time a US warship has gone through the waterway that separates China and Taiwan during the Biden administration.
According to a readout of Friday’s call provided by the US State Department, Blinken stressed the US would continue to stand up for human rights and democratic values, including in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and pressed China to join the international community in condemning the military coup in Myanmar.
Blinken also reaffirmed that the US would work together with its allies and partners to hold China accountable for its “efforts to threaten stability in the Indo-Pacific, including across the Taiwan Strait,” the US statement said.
Source: Financial Times & CNN