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Blinken warns of US pushback to any Chinese 'coercion and aggression'

Blinken warns of US pushback to any Chinese 'coercion and aggression'
© AFP/Pool

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenBiden speaks with Israel's Netanyahu again amid ramped-up strikes in Gaza State calls for Azerbaijan to pull back forces from Armenia border Progressive groups call for Biden to denounce evictions of Palestinians as 'war crimes' MORE on Tuesday warned during remarks in Tokyo that the U.S. would respond to any Chinese “coercion and aggression.”

“We will push back, if necessary, when China uses coercion and aggression to get its way,” Blinken said, according to a State Department transcript of his remarks. 

“China uses coercion and aggression to systematically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undercut democracy in Taiwan, abusing human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet," he added.

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Blinken made the comments alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense: Military sexual assault reform bill has votes to pass in Senate l First active duty service member arrested over Jan. 6 riot l Israeli troops attack Gaza Strip Military sexual assault reform bill has votes to pass in Senate First active duty service member arrested over Jan. 6 riot MORE as part of the first overseas trip taken by members of President BidenJoe BidenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas UN secretary general 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strike on high rise that housed media outlets Nation's largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks MORE’s Cabinet, the news service noted.

Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu added that officials agreed that “China’s behavior, where inconsistent with the existing international order, presents political, economic, military and technological challenges to the alliance and to the international community." 

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian appeared to respond to the statement, Reuters notes, saying the U.S. and Japan "shouldn’t target or undermine the interests of any third party" and instead should promote “peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific.”

The remarks come just days before a meeting in Alaska between U.S. officials and their Chinese counterparts to discuss relations between Washington and Beijing.

Blinken also focused on North Korea, which, according to the White House, had rejected attempts at dialogue.

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"We have no greater strategic advantage when it comes to North Korea than this alliance,” Blinken said. “We approach that challenge as an alliance and we’ve got to do that if we are going to be effective.”

The younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnBiden must tell Kim: Begin denuclearization, end dehumanization of North Koreans North Korea has much to consider — when, and if, talks resume Pompeo on CIA recruitment: We can't risk national security to appease 'liberal, woke agenda' MORE on Monday offered a vague warning about what would happen if the Biden administration got off on the wrong foot with Pyongyang.

"We take this opportunity to warn the new US administration trying hard to give off powder smell in our land," Kim Yo Jong said, according to CNN, which cited the North Korean state news agency. "If it wants to sleep in peace for [the] coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step." 

--Updated at 1:20 p.m.