“We have seen the emergence of a completely different China in recent years under the leadership of Xi Jinping,” Blinken said at a Stanford University forum with former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“It’s more repressive on the inside, more aggressive on the outside. And in many cases this is a challenge to our own interests as well as our values,” he added.
Xi, who is on the cusp of securing a third five-year term as president of the world’s most populous country, made a historic speech at the Communist Party Congress on Sunday. In it, he praised the accomplishments of his decade in power and reaffirmed his promise to one day “reunify” Taiwan, or capture it by force.
Blinken accused Xi of “creating enormous tension” by changing his position on the government’s autonomy on Taiwan, an island that the Chinese Communist Party has never controlled but considers a rebellious province and claims to be its own.
Without giving an estimate of the dates, the US secretary noted that China had made a “fundamental decision that the ‘status quo’ is no longer acceptable and that Beijing is determined to seek reunification in a much faster time frame.”
China’s position has long been to seek “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan, but it reserves the right to use force if necessary, especially if the island officially declares independence.
But under Xi, rhetoric and actions against Taiwan have only become harsher.
In response to Blinken’s speech, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin accused Washington of changing its stance on Taiwan, citing examples such as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island, and arms sales to the island. in September.
“A peaceful solution to the Taiwan issue cannot coexist with Taiwanese separatism,” Wang stressed.
Xi is scheduled to meet US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G20 summit next month in Bali. If that happens, it will be their first meeting since the US leader took office.
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