Antony Blinken, President Joe Biden’s secretary of state nominee, admitted Tuesday that President Donald Trump “was right” to take a “tougher approach to China,” though he disagreed with how Trump went about it.
“President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China,” the man who served as deputy secretary of state under former President Barack Obama said.
“I disagree very much with the way that we went about it in a number of areas, but the basic principle was the right one, and I think that’s actually helpful to our foreign policy.”
Blinken said he agreed with outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in calling China’s treatment of the Muslim minority Uighurs a “genocide.”
“After careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that the People’s Republic of China, under the direction and control of the Chinese Communist Party, has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” Pompeo said in a news release Tuesday.
“I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state.”
Blinken also said that “there’s been a strong and long bipartisan commitment to Taiwan,” which China considers a rogue province, “and the commitment to Taiwan is something that we hold to very strongly.”
“Part of that commitment is making sure that Taiwan have the ability to defend itself against aggression,” Blinken said.
“And that is a commitment that will absolutely endure.”
Biden’s secretary of state pick also said that “techno democracies,” not “techo autocracies,” should define the future of the internet.
“Whether the techno democracies or the techno autocracies are the ones that get to define how technology is used — the technology that dominates all of our lives — I think is going to go a long way to shaping the next decades,” he said.
“We have a very strong interest in making sure the techno democracies come together more effectively so we are the ones doing the shaping of those norms and rules.”
Blinken praised other Trump initiatives, such as the recognition of Israel by several Arab countries and the normalization of trade between Kosovo and Serbia, but defended foreign policy moves he supported during the Obama administration.
He defended the Iran nuclear agreement, from which Trump withdrew the U.S. in 2018, calling it “a horrible one-sided deal.” However, Blinken said Iran would have to come back into compliance with it for the U.S. to lift its sanctions, The New York Times reported.
“We would use that as a platform with our allies and partners, who would once again be on the same side with us, to seek a longer and stronger agreement,” Blinken said.
“We’re a long way from there.”
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