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Blinken tries to smooth over Pelosi Taiwan visit, warns against Chinese escalation

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to reporters Thursday about the recent congressional delegation to Taiwan, trying to smooth over the visit.

Blinken spoke Thursday in Cambodia with Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Before reporters were escorted out of the conference room to allow the leaders a moment of closed door discussion, Blinken paused to touch on a related subject.

“Before I go further, I want to speak to the recent activity concerning Taiwan because I know it’s on a lot of people’s minds,” Blinken said. “The United States continues to have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We oppose any unilateral efforts to change the status quo, especially by force.”

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“We remain committed to our One China policy guided by our commitments to the Taiwan Relations Act, communiqués. … And I want to emphasize: nothing has changed our position and I hope very much that Beijing will not manufacture a crisis or seek a pretense to increase its aggressive military action,” Blinken said.

Blinken even confirmed that the U.S. government had reached out to China to express a desire for no escalation.

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Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, left, speaks with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, during a U.S. ministerial meeting at the Sokha Hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.

“We’ve reached out to engage our PLC counterparts in recent days…to convey this message. Maintaining cross state stability is the interest of parts of the region including all of our colleagues with ASEAN,” Blinken concluded.

The U.S. government is watching to see if China uses House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as justification for escalated aggression toward the island.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks after receiving the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon, Taiwan’s highest civilian honor.

The People’s Republic of China has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait, the relatively narrow strip of ocean between the island of Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. The Chinese military has frequently sent planes into the area, testing Taiwan’s air defense zone.

The U.S. does not have official relations with Taiwan – also known as the Republic of China – and maintains a “One China” policy that recognizes the People’s Republic of China as the legitimate successor nation. 

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