China’s military maneuvers surrounding Taiwan in reaction to the visit of the US House Speaker to the self-ruled island are excessive and unjustifiable, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday.
Blinken said that the US has frequently stated to China that it does not desire a crisis, and that its recent moves have Washington and its allies worried.
China has carried out the largest-ever military drills in the Taiwan Strait, involving the firing of live missiles near the island it claims as part of its sovereign territory.
“There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalatory military response,” Blinken told a news conference on the sidelines of an ASEAN meeting, adding, “now, they’ve taken dangerous acts to a new level.”
He stressed that the US would not precipitate a crisis, but would continue to defend regional friends and undertake normal air and sea transit via the Taiwan Strait.
“We will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” he said.
Blinken is now in Cambodia, where he is meeting with colleagues from Southeast Asia and 27 other nations, including China, Japan, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and India. He did not meet with Wang Yi, his Chinese counterpart.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is hosting the meeting, has previously appealed for caution on all sides, warning of the dangers of mistake and violence between big powers.
China warned on Friday that it will censure US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her “vicious” and “provocative” acts in Taiwan.
According to Blinken, ASEAN and other Asian leaders are afraid that China’s moves could destabilize the whole region.
“The last thing that countries in the region want is to see differences between mainland China and Taiwan…to be resolved by force,” Blinken said after the East Asia Summit on Friday.
“It is incumbent upon us and China to act responsibly. What we don’t want are efforts by any country, including China and Russia, to disrupt international peace and security,” he said.