Secretary of State Blinken: COVID-19, China among top foreign policy concerns

Antony Blinken speaks during his confirmation hearing before the Senate foreign relations committee at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 19. The senate confirmed him 78-22. Pool Photo by Graeme Jennings/UPI

March 3 (UPI) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday outlined his department’s most urgent policy concerns, pointing to a number of issues he says are “simultaneously domestic and foreign.”

He delivered his first major speech as the nation’s chief diplomat, laying out eight key policy issues important to the Biden administration.

“More than at any other time in my career — maybe in my lifetime — distinctions between domestic and foreign policy have simply fallen away,” Blinken said. “Our domestic renewal and our strength in the world are completely entwined. And how we work will reflect that reality.”

Among the noted concerns were the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery, renewing democracy, immigration, rebuilding alliances, climate change, technology and China.

Blinken said that stopping the coronavirus pandemic in the United States means also stopping the virus worldwide.

“None of us will be fully safe until the majority of the world is immune because as long as the virus is replicating, it could mutate into new strains that find their way back to America,” he said.

Meanwhile, China, he said, poses the greatest challenge among all global relationships because of its economic, diplomatic, military and technological power. He added that China has filled the dominant role in international organizations the United States pulled back from during the last administration.

“Our relationship with China will be competitive when it should be, collaborative when it can be, and adversarial when it must be. The common denominator is the need to engage China from a position of strength,” Blinken said.


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