U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned that China is determined to pursue reunification with Taiwan on a much faster timeline than expected.
To achieve this goal, Beijing may use force, he said in a conversation with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the Evolution and Importance of Technology, Diplomacy, and National Security at Stanford University on Tuesday.
Blinken noted that there has been a change in the approach from Beijing toward Taiwan in recent years.
“And if peaceful means didn’t work, then it would employ coercive means – and possibly, if coercive means don’t work, maybe forceful means – to achieve its objectives,” Blinken said. “And that is what is profoundly disrupting the status quo and creating tremendous tensions.”
“And this is a matter of concern not just to the United States, but of profound concern to countries around the world, according to the top U.S. diplomat,” he added. “The amount of commercial traffic that goes through the straits every single day has an enormous impact on economies around the world. If that were to be disrupted as a result of a crisis, countries around world would suffer.”
The Taiwan Strait is one of the world’s most important shipping routes, facilitating the flow of goods between East Asia and global markets.
Nearly half of the world’s container fleets and most of its largest vessels by tonnage are passing through the Strait.
Taiwan is also a major producer and supplier of semiconductor chips to U.S. tech firms.
China conducted military drills in the waterways to coincide with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-governing island in August.
The close ties between Taiwan and the United States are a major irritant to Beijing. Under its One-China policy, the Chinese Government states that Taiwan is part of the country.
Blinken warned that if Taiwanese production of semiconductors is disrupted as a result of a crisis, it could lead to an economic crisis around the world.
“So there’s a profound stake not just for us but for countries around the world in preserving peace and stability when it comes to Taiwan and the straits, and to making sure that the differences that exist are resolved peacefully. So that’s why we’ve been so engaged on this,” Blinken told the gathering at Stanford University.
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