US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday reiterated Washington’s commitment to Taiwan during a congressional hearing on the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, amid concerns that Washington might not come to its ally’s defense in the event of a crisis.
During a US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing, US Representative Brian Fitzpatrick told Blinken that US allies like Taiwan and Ukraine are scared Washington does not have their backs after witnessing US troops leaving Afghanistan, which led to the country’s takeover by the Taliban.
“I just returned from Ukraine two days ago, my next stop will be Taiwan,” Fitzpatrick said during the hearing. “These people are scared to death.”
Fitzpatrick asked Blinken if the US would “do whatever it takes” to support Ukraine and Taiwan from Russian and Chinese aggression respectively.
“Absolutely, we stand by our commitments to both countries,” Blinken said, citing discussions between US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that he said reaffirmed those commitments.
Asked about Chinese state-run media’s ongoing attempts to draw parallels between the US’ relationship with Taiwan and Washington’s abandonment of Afghanistan, Blinken said that Beijing would love to see Washington stuck in Afghanistan for another decade.
“As I said earlier, whatever protestations they may be making in newspapers or in their propaganda, there is nothing that China would have liked more than for us to re-up the war in Afghanistan and to remain bogged down for another five, 10 or 20 years,” Blinken told Fitzpatrick.
“That would have been profoundly against our strategic interests and profoundly in China’s strategic interests,” he added.
Blinken also defended Biden’s decision to pull out and pushed back on accusations that the US Department of State should have done more to evacuate Americans and at-risk Afghans, blaming the previous administration for lacking a plan.
He repeatedly said that it was the administration of former US president Donald Trump that had negotiated the withdrawal agreement with the Taliban.
Blinken added that the Biden administration could not renegotiate because of the group’s threats to resume killing Americans.
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