Jakarta: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday urged China to cease “aggressive actions” in the Indo-Pacific, speaking during a visit to the region, as Washington seeks to bolster alliances against Beijing’s rising might.
In a speech in Indonesia, Blinken said Washington would work with allies and partners to “defend the rules-based order” and countries should have the right to “choose their own path”.
“That’s why there is so much concern –from Northeast Asia to Southeast Asia and from the Mekong River to the Pacific Islands — about Beijing’s aggressive actions.
“Claiming open seas as their own. Distorting open markets through subsidies to its state-run companies. Denying the exports or revoking deals for countries whose policies it does not agree with.”
“Countries across the region want this behaviour to change — we do too,” he said.
He added that Washington was “determined to ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea”, and said Beijing’s actions there threaten the movement of more than $3 trillion worth of commerce every year.
China claims almost all of the resource-rich sea, with competing claims from four Southeast Asian states as well as Taiwan