Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Steve Inskeep of NPR – United States Department of State

Question: We are inside the US Embassy compound. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is with us after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other top Chinese officials. They are trying to prevent relations between the two great powers from deteriorating.

Secretary Sir, welcome back to the program.

Secretary Blinken: Steve, it’s great to be with you.

Question: Thanks for joining us here on the road. I have followed China’s public statements during your meetings today, and the public statements have been quite clear. China accused America of suppressing their economic development and said that America has attacked China’s core interests, which is quite harsh in diplomatic language. Was President Xi any different personally?

Secretary Blinken: Look, I don’t want to describe him or what he said. What I can tell you is this: We had a very direct, very frank, but in many ways also constructive conversation about two things. If you go back to the meeting between President Biden and President Xi in San Francisco, Woodside, late last year, they agreed that it is very important, first of all, that we have these regular lines of communication , we had an obligation to manage this relationship responsibly, including dealing with our differences head-on, and also seeing whether we could create areas of cooperation where it was in our mutual interests. And that’s exactly what we did and that’s what I was focused on in Beijing.

Question: One of the things you focused on was getting China to stop aiding Russia’s military when it invaded Ukraine. And we can talk about China’s attitude here because they have given a public statement. His State Department spokesman was asked today about ending aid to Russia, and he said, look, we trade with Russia, and you guys aid Ukraine; You are a hypocrite. It’s like no, we won’t stop – that’s what they seemed to be saying.

Secretary Blinken: Well, herein lies the problem. What China is doing now is not providing weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine –

Secretary Blinken: – For example, there are North Korea and Iran, but it is the number one supplier of vital components for Russia to rebuild its defense industrial base: machine tools, microelectronics, optics, and other things that directly support the mass production of weapons. Weapons, tanks, armored vehicles – which in turn are going to Ukraine. This is not only a problem for us, this is not only a problem for Ukraine; This is a problem for almost everyone in Europe, because they see it as helping to maintain Russian aggression in Ukraine. They also see it as a growing threat to the security of Europe.

So one of the things that I shared with my Chinese colleagues is that at the same time that they are trying to develop better relations with Europe, they cannot do that while at the same time promoting the biggest thing that is Are helping to give. Threats to Europe’s security since the end of the Cold War. Now, we have taken action ourselves. If China is unwilling to take action to curb this activity, we are prepared to do more.

Question: So you’re trying to tell them that it’s in their best interest to stop giving aid to Russia, but you also told reporters just a moment ago, if China doesn’t solve this problem, we will. What power do you have?

Secretary Blinken: Well, as I said, you’ve already seen us take action, imposing sanctions against over a hundred Chinese entities by imposing export controls. There are other measures also which we are fully prepared to take. And as I said before, if China doesn’t act, we will.

Question: In October, the United States issued new rules that denied Chinese companies access to the most advanced semiconductors, the most advanced chips. How much has that one move changed the competition between these two countries?

Secretary Blinken: One of the things we’re very focused on is making sure that when it comes to the highest technology, we’re not in the business of providing or selling things that weaken our own security. May be against. And so what we’ve done, as we’ve said, is build a very high fence around a very small yard. Because this is not about tearing apart our economies, this is not about eliminating trade and investment with China – things that are beneficial to us and beneficial to them as long as it is done fairly. Is.

And as I mentioned a moment ago, we remain the number one market for Chinese products worldwide, and there remains significant U.S. investment in China. But when it comes to sensitive technology, we are very, very confident that the most sensitive technology does not get to a place where it can turn over and harm us.

Question: However, some of the most sensitive technologies are, of course, also central to economic growth, high-tech development. new York Times Several US experts were recently quoted as saying that the move cuts off sectors that will power future economic growth and development. I know your aim is to curb military development, but are you essentially strangling China as well?

Secretary Blinken: Look, the vast, vast majority of chips – old chips and otherwise – are still available. I noticed that Huawei recently launched a new laptop that is claimed to be AI enabled, which uses Intel chips.

Question: And it is this company that is the target of the United States. Sure.

Secretary Blinken: And so, again, I think it shows that what we’re focused on is only the most sensitive technology that could pose a threat to our security. Our focus is not on cutting trade or controlling or containing China. Indeed, China’s growing and strong economy is in our interest, but we also want to ensure that on the economic side there is a level playing field for our companies and our workers.

Question: Elbridge Colby, who is a former Republican defense official – you’re nodding, you know him – was on the program this week and said he’s concerned that these American efforts could provoke a war for which the United States is unprepared. Not there. What is the danger here?

Secretary Blinken: We are all about stopping wars, stopping conflict. And then, one of the things that was very important in trying to re-establish regular contact, regular engagement with China was the resumption of our military-to-military communications – something that the President discussed with President Xi last year. Came out from the meeting. And we have seen that –

Question: It prevents accidental war –

Secretary Blinken: This is correct.

Question: – But what if China decides it must act because it is running out of time?

Secretary Blinken: Well, I’m not going to go into their own judgment area, but we are very clear that when it comes to the South China Sea, when it comes to the Taiwan Strait, our objective, our focus is to maintain peace and stability. That is, to maintain the status quo, and not to do anything that might disrupt it.

Question: So when we were here in Beijing, we were talking to a lot of people, and we met a university professor who said that America’s reputation here declined because of America’s support for Israel and its war against Hamas. Is. Then today there was a headline in a Chinese newspaper: “Chinese satellites detail… war wreaks havoc in Gaza.” And it has been widely reported that China is playing up this conflict in many countries in the global South to weaken the United States. How can you react to that?

Secretary Blinken: Look, I can’t focus on what they’re saying or doing inside China, but I can focus on two things: One, of course, what we’re doing in the Middle East , both are trying to bring about an end to the conflict as quickly as possible in a way that allows Israel to ensure that October 7 never happens again, but that the men, women and children caught in this crossfire created by Hamas We can do everything we can to protect ourselves.

And also when it comes to China, one of the things we really discussed was the Middle East. And I think, I have had six conversations with my Chinese counterparts since October 7th. I really believe that China can play a constructive role in trying to ensure that the conflict does not escalate, that we do not have an escalation of tensions because it has relations, it has influence with important countries in the region, for example, Iran. So my focus is on encouraging China to use that influence productively.

Question: Do you feel that China is prepared to act as you would like on that issue?

Secretary Blinken: Well, we have seen some evidence that they have done so because it is also in their interest to ensure that the conflict does not spread. For example, China is heavily dependent on energy coming from the Middle East. I think he has no interest in the Middle East which is in flames, full of conflict and is only looking to take appropriate action for his own self-interest.

Question: Secretary Antony Blinken, thank you very much for taking your time today. I really appreciate it.

Secretary Blinken: Steve, thanks.

Question: Enjoy the rest of your travels.

Secretary Blinken: Thank you.