The US and its European allies continue to take steps to unite against China. From NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken call for trans-Atlantic unity and accused Beijing of “actively working to undercut the rules of the international system and the values we and our allies share.”
Blinken met with Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, and announced that the US and EU are launching a formal dialogue on China. “We share an assessment of China’s role as a partner, as a competitor, and a systemic rival,” Borrell said. “We equally agreed — and this is maybe most important — to support the fullest possible involvement of the United States in the European Union defense initiative and to enhance our dialogue on these issues.”
Earlier in the day, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg met with Blinken and said the alliance plans to build partnerships with Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries in Asia to counter China. “To strengthen partnerships with like-minded democracies is a way also to protect the rules-based international order. And of course, this is all about the consequences of the rise of China, and on many of the issues in Nato 2030,” Stoltenberg said, referring to a report released by NATO last year that called for more focus on Beijing.
Blinken also spoke of the informal alliance known as the Quad that is made up of the US, Japan, Australia, and India. This grouping is seen as a possible foundation for a NATO-style alliance in Asia. “President Biden recently hosted the Quad’s first-ever leader-level summit,” Blinken said. President Biden held the summit earlier this month, picking up on efforts by the Trump administration to increase cooperation between the four countries.
Blinken’s meetings in Brussels came after the US, EU, UK, and Canada coordinated on sanctions against Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang. The Western blitz was a major escalation of tensions with Beijing and followed a testy in-person meeting between US and Chinese officials in Alaska. Blinken opened the Alaska talks, which were held last Thursday and Friday, by accusing China of threatening the “rules-based order.”