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U.S Secretary Blinken: American West must be "very careful" about Chinese investment

May 07, 2021 | 15:51

U.S Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned the West to be careful about the exact nature of Chinese investment in Western economies in a press conference with British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attended a press conference with British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab after a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G7 conference in London on 3/5.

China's spectacular economic and military rise over the past 40 years is among the most significant geopolitical events of recent history, alongside the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union that ended the Cold War, according to Reuters.

G7 foreign ministers meeting in London (Photo: Reuters)
G7 foreign ministers meeting in London (Photo: Reuters)

The West has struggled to come up with an agreed policy on China and has flipflopped over the years from seeing China as a lucrative source of investment - for example in U.S. government bonds - to seeing China as a threat to global stability and avoiding its 5G technology.

Asked by the BBC if the West should pull back from Chinese investment, Blinken said the United States was not trying to hold China back or contain it but that the West wanted to uphold the rules-based international order formed after World War Two.

"I think we have to be very careful about exactly what the nature is of that investment," Blinken told the BBC in an interview when asked about huge amounts of Chinese investment in the West.

"If it is investing in strategic industries, strategic assets that's something that countries need to look at very carefully."

He added though: "Another thing is to say: 'We're not doing any business'. That's not what we're saying."

While China's re-emergence has concerned the West, China was for centuries one of the most influential economies on earth.

Chinese per capita income was higher than that of Europe from the 10th century to early 15th century and it was the world’s biggest economy for several centuries thereafter, according to the OECD.

UK, US foreign ministers meet on COVID-19, free trade deal

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (R) and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken attend a press conference ahead of the meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) foreign and development ministers in London, Britain, on May 3, 2021. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Monday met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss efforts to build back better from COVID-19 and a possible free trade agreement between the two countries. (Simon Dawsond/No 10 Downing Street/Handout via Xinhua)
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (R) and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken attend a press conference ahead of the meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) foreign and development ministers in London, Britain, on May 3, 2021. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Monday met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss efforts to build back better from COVID-19 and a possible free trade agreement between the two countries. (Simon Dawsond/No 10 Downing Street/Handout via Xinhua)

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Monday met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss efforts to build back better from COVID-19 and a possible free trade agreement between the two countries, according to Global Times.

The meeting took place in London ahead of the first in-person meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) foreign and development ministers in two years, according to a statement by the British government.

"Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab hosted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at 1 Carlton Gardens ahead of this week's G7 Foreign Ministers meeting. They held a discussion on foreign policy priorities and opportunities to strengthen the UK-US friendship," a British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office spokesperson said in a statement.

"Discussions included UK-US shared commitment to open societies, a strengthened multilateral system, efforts to build back better from COVID-19, including through the COVAX facility and a UK-U.S. FTA (free trade agreement)," said the spokesperson.

They also discussed latest developments in Afghanistan, Iran and Ethiopia, among other issues, according to the spokesperson.

During their joint press conference, Raab said that the world has changed quite a bit in the past two years, which brings challenges that require global solutions.

"Our societies and our economies have been shocked and shaken by coronavirus," said Raab.

"There's also rapid technological change which brings new opportunities, we've seen that with collaboration on things like the vaccine, but also acute challenges, and there are global threats from COVID to climate change that frankly demand global solutions and we're committed to trying to find and forge those solutions," he added.

The G7 foreign and development ministers gathered Monday for a three-day meeting in London for the first time in two years to address such issues as economist recovery after the coronavirus pandemic and climate change. The conference was reportedly held with strict COVID-secure measures being insured by organisers.

The last G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting took place in France in April 2019.

Britain holds the rotating presidency of the G7 group, which also includes the United States, France, Germany, Canada, Japan and Italy.

The meeting this week will also be attended by representatives from the European Union, Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, and South Africa, as well as this year's chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Brunei.

The G7 summit will be held in Cornwall, a seaside resort in southwestern England, on June 11-13.

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