U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused China of seeking to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait with missile tests and military drills following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.
Blinken made the remarks at a regional summit in Cambodia on Friday that was also attended by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. The top US diplomat said there was no justification for China’s military response in reaction to what he called a peaceful visit from Pelosi, including firing missiles into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to a Western official who was in attendance.
Speaking just after Lavrov and Wang, Blinken asked the other foreign ministers in the room — including representatives from 10 Southeast Asian nations, Australia, Japan, South Korea, India and New Zealand — how they would feel if China fired missiles into their EEZs. He then said the U.S. policy toward China and Taiwan hasn’t changed, but that Beijing was taking increasingly provocative action to disrupt the status quo, the official said.
More from TIME
The remarks from Blinken show the effort by the U.S. to paint China as the aggressor, particularly after Beijing has seen some success in portraying Pelosi’s visit as a provocation. Top Southeast Asian diplomats earlier this week urged “maximum restraint” in the Taiwan Strait, warning that developments could “destabilize the region.”
Further afield, the United Arab Emirates — a major US ally in the Gulf — criticized “provocative visits” after Pelosi’s trip and affirmed support for “China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Contact us at email@example.com.