“I think over that over time, China believes that it—it—it can be and should be and will be the dominant country in the world,” Blinken told CBS News’ “60 Minutes.”
The Biden administration has made it clear that it sees China as a serious challenge to the U.S.
In February, President Biden announced the formation of a Defense Department China Task Force to assess the future challenge from China. And in March, Biden suggested to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that democratic countries in Europe should come together to challenge China’s massive Belt and Road initiative.
Blinken, who served as deputy secretary of state under President Obama, said during his confirmation hearing in January that China “poses the most significant challenge of any nation-state in the world to the U.S.”
“I want to be very clear about something,” Blinken said in the “60 Minutes” interview. “And this is important. Our purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to keep it down. It is to uphold this rules-based order that China is posing a challenge to. Anyone who poses a challenge to that order, we’re going to stand up and– and defend it.”
The interview was wide-ranging. Norah O’Donnell, the correspondent, asked Blinken about the conditions in Xinjiang, where China has been accused of human rights violations against the Uyghur minority.
Blinken said that the U.S. has made clear that it sees “a genocide having taken place” against the Muslim minority in the region.
“More than a million people have been put into, choose your term, concentration camps, reeducation camps, internment camps. When Beijing says, “Oh, there’s a terrorism threat,” which we don’t see. It’s not coming from a million people.”
O’Donnell brought up China’s recent aggression in the South China Sea and with Taiwan. The report pointed out that Beijing, just last week, launched three new warships to patrol the region.
Blinken struck an optimistic tone and said the U.S., in the past, has risen to the challenge and insisted that it is “profoundly against the interests of both China and the United States—to—to get to that point (a conflict), or even head in that direction.”