US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday said that tensions have eased with China as he prepares for a rare visit, but he renewed alarm over Beijing’s intentions over Taiwan.
Asked in an appearance at the University of Chicago if the temperature had subsided with China, Blinken replied: “I think so, because when you’re talking and engaging, it tends to have that effect.”
“The rest of the world expects us to manage this relationship responsibly. They know that the way we manage it is actually going to affect them, too,” he said.
Blinken is to visit Beijing from Feb. 5 to 6, a US official said, in the first trip by a US secretary of state to the rising Asian power since October 2018.
The trip was decided after US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in November held talks in Bali, Indonesia, on wide-ranging friction between the world’s two largest economic powers.
However, Blinken again voiced alarm over Taiwan, pointing to Beijing’s growing efforts to isolate the nation and the major military exercises it carried out near it in August.
“What we’ve seen over the last few years is, I think, China make a decision that it was no longer comfortable with the status quo, a status quo that had prevailed for decades that had actually been successful in terms of the relationship between our countries and managing what is a difficult situation,” he said.
“What we say to China is this — they say this is a sovereign issue for us; our response is this is an interest to the United States and to countries around the world,” Blinken said, pointing to Taiwan’s dominance in semiconductors crucial for the global economy.
Any disruption of the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait would be a disaster to the world economy, he said, adding that 50 percent of container ships operating around the world go through the Taiwan Strait and 70 percent of higher-end computer chips are manufactured in Taiwan.
Blinken was on a trip to Chicago that included visiting the midwestern metropolis’ historic Ukrainian community to discuss the response to Russia’s invasion.
Additional reporting by CNA
WHEELING AND DEALING? Hou You-yi, Ko Wen-je, Eric Chu and Ma Ying-jeou are under investigation for allegedly offering bribes for the other side to drop out of the race Taipei prosecutors have started an investigation into allegations that four top politicians involved in attempts to form a “blue-white” presidential ticket have contravened election regulations. Listed as defendants are Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the KMT and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲). The case stemmed from judicial complaints filed last month with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office alleging that the KMT (blue) and the TPP (white) had engaged in bribery by offering money or other enticements
ELIGIBLE FOR JANUARY: All presidential candidates and their running mates meet the requirements to run for office, and none hold dual citizenship, the CEC said Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator and vice presidential candidate Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈) is working with the Central Election Commission (CEC) to resolve issues with her financial disclosure statement, a spokesman for the candidate said yesterday, after the commission published the statements of all three presidential candidates and their running mates, while confirming their eligibility to run in the Jan. 13 election. Wu’s office spokesman, Chen Yu-cheng (陳宥丞), said the candidate encountered unforeseen difficulties disclosing her husband’s finances due to being suddenly thrust into the campaign. She is also the first vice presidential nominee to have a foreign spouse, complicating the reporting of
GOOD NEWS: Although open civic spaces are shrinking in Asia-Pacific countries and territories, Taiwan’s openness is a positive sign, an expert said Taiwan remains the only country in Asia with an “open” civic space for the fifth consecutive year, the Civicus Monitor said in a report released yesterday. The People Power Under Attack 2023 report named Taiwan as one of only 37 open countries or territories out of 198 globally, and the only one in Asia. Compiled by Civicus — a global alliance of civil society organizations dedicated to bolstering civil action — the ranking compiled annually since 2017 measures the state of freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression around the world. Researchers assign each country or territory one of five rankings describing the
NOT JUST CHIPS: Although semiconductor processes are on the list, it also includes military technology and post-quantum cryptography to combat emerging cyberthreats The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) yesterday released a list of 22 technologies it considers crucial to the nation’s security and competitiveness, including the 14-nanometer semiconductor process and advanced chip packaging. For the first time, the council made a list of core technologies with an aim of preventing secret information about those technologies being leaked to foreign countries, which could put the nation’s security and the competitiveness of local industries at risk. For years, local semiconductor companies have faced challenges from talent poaching and theft of corporate secrets by Chinese competitors, who are seeking to rapidly advance their technology capabilities through