Blinken says China is seeking to change the status quo with Taiwan

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken accused China of seeking to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait with missile tests and military exercises following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.

Blinken made the remarks at a regional summit in Cambodia on Friday, which was also attended by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. The top US diplomat said there was no justification for China’s military response to what he called a peaceful visit by Pelosi, including firing missiles into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to a Western official who attended.

Speaking just after Lavrov and Wang, Blinken asked the other foreign ministers in the room – including representatives from 10 Southeast Asian countries, Australia, Japan, South Korea, India and New Zealand – how they would feel if China fired missiles into their EEZs. He said then that U.S. policy toward China and Taiwan had not changed, but that Beijing was taking increasingly provocative actions to disrupt the status quo, the official said.

Blinken’s remarks show a US effort to paint China as an aggressor, especially as Beijing has seen some success in portraying Pelosi’s visit as a provocation. Top diplomats from Southeast Asia earlier this week urged “maximum restraint” in the Taiwan Strait, warning that developments could “destabilize the region”.

Further, the United Arab Emirates – a major US ally in the Persian Gulf – criticized “provocative visits” after Pelosi’s trip and reaffirmed support for “China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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