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US urges ASEAN countries to have freedom in choosing their alliances.

U.S. ⁣Secretary⁢ of‌ State Emphasizes Freedom ‌of ASEAN

U.S.⁤ Secretary⁤ of State ⁤Antony​ Blinken⁢ emphasized⁤ Friday ⁤the ​importance ​of ensuring⁣ the⁤ freedom of the Association of Southeast ‌Asian ‌Nations​ (ASEAN) ⁤to choose ⁤and forge ⁢alliances ⁢without⁢ facing ‍coercion.

Speaking to ⁢reporters ‌following the‍ ASEAN ‍foreign⁣ ministers’ ‍meeting in‍ Indonesia,‌ Blinken said the ‍United⁤ States and ​the⁢ 10-member bloc have⁤ embarked ‍on‌ “a new​ era” in‍ their ⁤relations⁣ that‍ are ⁢defined by increased ⁣collaboration.

The U.S. diplomat ‍reaffirmed‌ Washington’s ‍commitment ‍to realizing⁢ a ​free ‌and ⁣open Indo-Pacific, ⁣where ⁤countries ‌are able to⁤ choose their own ‍path​ and partners​ “free‍ from ⁤the use of ‌force, ‍coercion, ‍or ⁢aggression.”

“That⁢ means a⁢ region⁣ where ⁣countries are free ​to ⁢choose their​ own ​path and their own partners; where‌ problems⁣ are dealt⁣ with‍ openly; where rules are‌ reached transparently ⁢and ⁤applied fairly; where goods, where ideas, ‌where ‍people flow‌ lawfully ‍and freely,” he ⁢said.

Blinken‍ said the⁣ United ‌States would⁤ back ​ASEAN’s negotiation ⁤of a‍ code ​of ​conduct to tackle territorial and maritime ⁤disputes​ in ⁤the South ​China Sea, a critical throughway ⁢for global commerce‌ and​ connectivity.

He ⁢also urged maintaining peace​ in the Taiwan‍ Strait—where⁣ cross-strait ⁢tensions⁤ have risen ‌between China⁢ and ‌self-ruling Taiwan.

“Like⁢ many⁣ countries⁤ in the‌ region,⁣ we’re concerned⁣ by ​the ​PRC’s⁤ increasing ‌assertiveness ‍in ⁢the⁣ South ‍and‍ East​ China ⁢Seas and in the Taiwan Strait,” ⁤he said,​ referring to‌ China’s‌ official⁤ name: ⁤the ‌People’s ⁣Republic⁤ of China.

“The United‌ States ‌also ⁢seeks⁢ to ⁣maintain ⁤peace and ⁤stability in the⁢ Taiwan Strait,​ which⁤ is ⁤in the​ interest⁤ of all⁣ nations,”​ Blinken‍ stated. ⁣“We continue⁢ to oppose ⁢unilateral⁢ changes to⁢ the ‍status⁤ quo by either‍ side.”

Washington⁣ pledged ‌to strengthen communication channels with Beijing ​to make clear of⁣ its⁢ positions‌ on regional issues while​ exploring ⁤potential⁤ areas of ⁤cooperation between⁢ the two⁢ major powers.

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Blinken​ also ⁤highlighted⁤ North ⁢Korea’s ⁤unlawful weapons ‌of mass destruction and ⁢ballistic‌ missile​ programs, and ⁤urged ⁤Burma’s military to⁤ cease ⁤violence ⁢and ⁢implement ⁤ASEAN’s Five-Point‍ Consensus.

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‍‍ ‌ U.S. Secretary⁢ of ⁣State‌ Antony ⁤Blinken⁤ (L) shakes hands with ‌China’s ‍Director ⁢of⁢ the Office⁢ of the‌ Central‌ Foreign Affairs ⁤Commission Wang Yi​ at the Diaoyutai‍ State‍ Guesthouse in ‍Beijing on⁢ June ‌19,⁤ 2023. (Leah​ Millis/POOL/AFP via ‍Getty​ Images)

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‘Candid’ Talks‍ With‍ Wang ⁣Yi

Blinken met⁢ with‍ top ⁢Chinese diplomat ⁤Wang‌ Yi ⁣on ‌the sidelines of the⁤ ASEAN‍ meeting on July ⁣13 ‍and ⁤had “candid‍ and ⁣constructive”​ talks ‍on⁢ a ‍range ⁣of bilateral and global ⁤issues, according‌ to the ​State Department.

Department spokesman Matthew Miller said⁤ the‍ meeting‌ was part⁢ of ⁢the Biden administration’s ongoing efforts​ “to maintain open⁤ channels ‍of⁤ communication to⁤ clarify⁣ U.S.⁣ interests⁣ across a ⁤wide⁢ range ⁢of ⁢issues‍ and⁢ to ⁤responsibly manage ‌differences.”

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