Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday paid a compliment to the Trump administration for the Abraham Accords struck between Arab nations and Israel in the Middle East.
Blinken was testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Biden administration’s foreign policy agenda.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., asked Blinken what his predecessor, Secretary Mike Pompeo, did right. He pointed to tech advances and Middle East peace deals.
“Trying to help bring the State Department into the 21st century, the use of technology and empowering, some of our people, with technology, something we really want to follow through,” Blinken said. “And as we were talking about earlier, I think the initiatives that led to steps by countries to normalize relations with Israel were a very good thing and something we want to build on.”
Israel signed peace deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan in the waning days of the Trump administration. For the U.S.’ part, Sudan was taken off the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and the U.S. acknowledged an intent to sell up to 50 F-35 jets to the Emirates. Trump had hoped to get Saudi Arabia in on the accords, but no such deal came to fruition.
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In the hearing, Blinken also issued a stern warning to China.
“We have a number of steps that we have taken or can take going forward, to include for those directly responsible for acts of genocide gross human rights violations,” Blinken said, referring to the genocide the Chinese Communist Party is widely held to be perpetrating against the Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang region. He named sanctions and visa restrictions, among other diplomatic consequences.
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“If China claims that there is nothing going on, that it gives access to the international community, to the United Nations, if they have nothing to hide, show it to us,” Blinken said.
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“China uniquely has an ability militarily diplomatically, economically, to undermine the international rules-based system that the United States has devoted so much effort to building that does advance the interests of our people. So we’re going to be making very clear to our counterparts in China, the deep concern, objections, that we have to some of the things that they’re doing… And to see if they will address those concerns,” he concluded.