Why is Blinken snubbed repeatedly during Asia-Pacific visits?

Despite Washington sparing no efforts in smearing China, countries in the Asia-Pacific region see Beijing as an equal partner and a real friend.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on examining the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, in Washington, D.C. Sept. 14, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Pool via Xinhua)

During his latest Asia-Pacific trip, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tried to persuade New Zealand to join the AUKUS alliance. The response he got was clear — it would cost New Zealanders their soul to accept the top U.S. diplomat’s advice.

“It’s a club we’d have to sell our soul to join,” said New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Mahuta replied to Blinken on Thursday that her country was “not prepared to compromise or change our nuclear-free position,” and continued to support a nuclear-free Pacific.

In fact, this was not the only time the top U.S. diplomat got snubbed during his visits.

At a joint press conference after meeting with Tongan Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni on Wednesday, Blinken called Beijing’s engagement in the region “problematic behavior,” but was only told that Tonga had “no concerns” about its relationship with China.

The reasons why Washington was given the cold shoulder are obvious. Blinken claimed that “We really understand what is a priority for the people here,” but his real priority is nothing but “American First.” What he and those decision-makers back in Washington have proposed for the region are simply not in line with or even counterproductive to its key interests and urgent needs. That is something the regional countries understand fairly well.

In recent years, the United States has been bent on peddling the so-called “Indo-Pacific strategy” and “great power competition” in an attempt to build an alliance in the Asia-Pacific region against China’s rise.

From throwing mud at China’s cooperation with local countries to trying to expand the AUKUS grouping, Blinken’s current visit is actually seeking to either sabotage Beijing’s image or to force the island nations to take sides.

Nations in the region want peace, stability and development. The AUKUS pact, which has violated the principles and practices of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and severely undermined the international non-proliferation regime, can only stir up confrontation and fuel an arms race in the area.

That is also why former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating warned earlier this month against the U.S.-led NATO’s Asia expansion attempt, saying that “exporting that malicious poison (NATO) to Asia would be akin to Asia welcoming the plague upon itself.”

Despite Washington sparing no efforts in smearing China, countries in the Asia-Pacific region see Beijing as an equal partner and a real friend.

Take Tonga. Over the past years, China has provided around 100 grant-aid projects, big and small, to the Tongan government and Tonga people, which covered agriculture, fishery, education, health, environment protection and climate change.

When Tonga was faced with multiple challenges, including volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and the COVID-19 pandemic, China rushed to its assistance. As facts have proven, China’s friendship has always been based on deeds rather than words, Tongan King Tupou VI has said.

As for New Zealand, China is the country’s largest trading partner for trade in goods, both in terms of imports and exports.

The relationship with China is incredibly important for New Zealand and both countries now enjoy a very constructive and positive relationship, New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said during a visit in China last month, adding that his country hopes to further expand bilateral trade and sees it as a priority to re-establish economic activity with China in the post-pandemic era.

Between confrontation and common development, it’s not difficult for Asia-Pacific countries to choose.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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