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U.S.-China News Brief
May 27, 2022

Sec Blinken China Policy Speech

Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered his long awaited, and previously postponed, speech outlining the Biden administration’s approach to China. This is the first public outline of what is still a largely classified broader strategy. Secretary Blinken focused on the importance of diplomacy, global cooperation, human rights, and a rules-based international order and emphasized the role of American democracy, alliances, innovation, and economic competitiveness.

He said, “The foundations of the international order are under serious and sustained challenge” and then elaborated, “Even as President Putin’s war continues, we will remain focused on the most serious long-term challenge to the international order – and that’s posed by the People’s Republic of China.”

Blinken asserted that China is the only country with the ability and intent to reshape the international order but, at the same time, is a vital part of a globalized world. He went on to discuss how China’s global influence and policies have changed over the past 50 years since normalization and outlined the Biden administration’s various concerns.

He assured that the U.S. did not want a new Cold War, but added “we cannot rely on Beijing to change its trajectory. So we will shape the strategic environment around Beijing to advance our vision for an open, inclusive international system.” He then detailed the three pillars of their strategy – “invest, align, compete.”

Blinken discussed the U.S. policy on Taiwan, which he says remains unchanged, as well as increased tension in the region. He cautioned, “the only conflict worse than an intended one is an unintended one. We’ll manage this relationship responsibly to prevent that from happening.”

He also mentioned areas where, despite other disagreements, still benefit from U.S.-China cooperation. These include climate change, COVID-19, nonproliferation, drug control, global food crises, and more. Blinken concluded, “There’s no reason why our great nations cannot coexist peacefully, and share in and contribute to human progress together. That’s what everything I’ve said today boils down to: advancing human progress, leaving to our children a world that’s more peaceful, more prosperous, and more free.”

[Full Transcript of Speech]

Additional News

The White House announced the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity [IPEF] along with 12 countries already signed on to participate in negotiations. According to the White House, “This framework is intended to advance resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness for our economies.” [Full Statement on IPEF]

On May 25, China held a nationwide videoconference with more than 100,000 Chinese officials at all levels of government represented. The unprecedented meeting focused on China’s economy, which has been struggling as intense Covid lockdowns continue. Premier Li Keqiang warned that the economy is at a “critical point” and said, “The difficulties, in some areas and to a certain degree, are even greater than the severe shock of the pandemic in 2020.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi began an eight-country South Pacific tour. His first stop was the Solomon Islands. He will also travel to East Timor, Fiji, Kiribati, Papaua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu. According to reports, China sent ahead a draft regional security deal proposal, which will likely be discussed at the China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers’ Meeting next week in Fiji.

On May 26, China and Russia both vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would strengthen the sanctions on North Korea. The vote comes after the more than 12 missile tests conducted by North Korea this year. These were the first vetoes on North Korea sanctions in 15 years.

Republican senators announced a new bill on May 26 that would prevent U.S. app stores from including apps that allow payments using Chinese digital currency.

On May 23, Former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger spoke to the World Economic Forum about the various geopolitical challenges the world is currently facing. He discussed a variety of topics, including U.S.-China tensions, cooperation, Taiwan, and more. On May 25, Dr. Kissinger celebrates his 99th birthday. [Full Transcript]