Blinken urges China to stop ‘aggressive actions’ in Indo-Pacific

Jakarta, Dec 14 (EFE).- The United States state secretary urged China to end its “aggressive actions” in the Indo-Pacific region Tuesday in Indonesia.

Speaking in Jakarta during his Southeast Asia tour, Antony Blinken said the US would work with its allies and partners to “defend the rules-based order,” and spoke about ”the right of all countries to choose their own path, free from coercion and intimidation.”

“That’s why there is so much concern – from Northeast Asia to Southeast Asia and from the Mekong River to the Pacific Islands – about Beijing’s aggressive actions,” the US representative said, citing the example of China’s territorial claim over the entire South China Sea.

China’s claims over this region, through which a third of the world’s maritime shipping passes and is rich in oil and natural gas deposits and fisheries, clash with those of other countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, which claim some parts of the area.

“Countries across the region want this behavior to change – we do too. We are determined to ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea,” where Beijing’s actions threaten the movement of more than $3 trillion worth of commerce every year, the US secretary of state added.

Blinken, who arrived Monday in Jakarta from the G7 meeting in London, is scheduled to meet Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi on Tuesday.

The two will hold a joint press conference before Blinken’s departure for Malaysia, where he plans to discuss the strengthening of global supply chains and efforts to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Blinken will end his tour Thursday in Bangkok, a visit to reaffirm the US-Thailand alliance and hold meetings with Thai officials to discuss post-pandemic economic recovery, the fight against climate change and the crisis in Myanmar. EFE


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