China sees 'much faster timeline' on taking Taiwan: Blinken
The US Secretary of State says the world has seen a very different China emerge in recent years under Xi Jinping's leadership.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed Monday that China wants to seize Taiwan "on a much faster timeline" than previously considered, accusing Chinese President Xi Jinping of leading China in a more aggressive direction.
"We've seen a very different China emerge in recent years under Xi Jinping's leadership," Blinken told a forum at Stanford University with Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"It is more repressive at home; it's more aggressive abroad. And in many instances that poses a challenge to our own interests as well as to our own values," he added.
Blinken accused Xi of "creating tremendous tension" by changing the approach toward Taiwan.
He said China had made a "fundamental decision that the status quo was no longer acceptable" and that "Beijing was determined to pursue reunification on a much faster timeline," though he gave no hard estimate or date.
Senior US military figures have previously said China has expanded its military forces to the point where it could soon have the capability to seek reunification with Taiwan.
Xi has previously said the goal of reunification cannot continue to be passed indefinitely from generation to generation.
In a Sunday speech, the Chinese President pointed out that the "wheels of history are rolling on towards China's reunification" and that "we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary."
Despite the ties deteriorating between Washington and Beijing under both the administrations of Donald Trump and his successor Joe Biden, over a range of issues, Blinken said the world's two largest economies should be willing to cooperate on shared interests, adding that the world "fundamentally expects" the two powers to work together on climate change, global health, and possibly drug trafficking.
The US Secretary of State said that Beijing "just has to be responsive to demand signals that it's getting from countries around the world to be a positive actor, not a negative actor, on issues that concern them."
In August, China cut cooperation with the United States on climate change and drug trafficking as part of its protest against a provocative visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which also saw Beijing launch its biggest military drills yet around the island.
Xi is widely expected to meet Biden on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit next month in Bali, in their first meeting since the US President took office.
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