Washington, February 9
Former US President Donald Trump was right in taking a tough approach on China, newly appointed Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said, reiterating the Biden administration’s policy of engaging Beijing from a position of strength.
In an interview, Blinken said, “I think in fairness to President Trump he was right to take a tougher approach to China. That was the right thing to do. But what does this require of us? We have to engage China from a position of strength. And whether it’s the adversarial aspects of the relationship, the competitive ones, or the cooperative ones which are there in our mutual interest, we have to deal with it from a position of strength.”
Blinken explained that this means having strong alliances. “That’s a source of advantage for us – not denigrating our alliances. It means, as we were talking about earlier, showing up again in the world, engaging. Because if we don’t, when we pull back, China fills in,” he said.
During his tenure, Trump, a Republican, pushed aggressively on all aspects of US-China ties, including with his relentless trade war, challenging China’s hold on the disputed South China Sea, Taiwan, the mass detention of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, branding coronavirus as “China virus” after it emerged from Wuhan in December 2019 and the Tibet issue.
Meanwhile, Blinken stopped short of recognising Golan Heights as Israel’s territory. Blinken said on Monday he saw control of the Golan, which overlooks northern Israel and also borders Lebanon and Jordan, as being “of real important to Israel’s security” but was circumspect about recognising Israeli sovereignty over the territory. Israel occupied the strategic plateau in a 1967 war with Syria and annexed it in 1981.
Later, Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the Golan Heights would remain forever with Israel. — PTI
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