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France and U.S. Agree on the Perils of a Rising China, Blinken Says

PARIS — Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, talking in an interview after a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron of France, stated the United States and France had been “on the same page” of their dedication to withstand the chance of a Chinese-led world order that may be “profoundly illiberal in nature.”

On his first go to as secretary to France, the place he lived for 9 years in his youth and attended highschool, Mr. Blinken stated “our purpose is not to contain China” or “try to hold China back.” But on the subject of defending a free and open worldwide order, “we will stand up.”

The different, he instructed, was both no order — a world of chaos that “inevitably leads to conflict and that almost inevitably brings us in” — or Chinese domination. The problem for democracies was “to deliver for their people and hopefully for people around the world” with a purpose to reinforce a mannequin challenged in recent times by its personal inside fractures and by rising autocracies.

“And I found that President Macron was thinking in exactly the same way and focused on the need to bring practical results,” Mr. Blinken stated.

Mr. Blinken’s pleasure at being again in France was evident. At a meeting earlier in the day, France’s overseas minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, greeted the secretary as “My dear Tony” and stated, “Welcome home.”

Asked about this, Mr. Blinken stated, “Oh yes, it is a sacred home for me. I was here from age 9 to 18. I had a life-changing experience.”

Having stated Thursday in Berlin that the United States has “no better friend in the world than Germany,” he stated he would say the similar factor about France. As he turned to the foundations of America’s oldest alliance, Mr. Blinken’s emotion was evident.

“It comes down to something pretty basic,” he stated. “You know, we throw out a lot of words and we just kind of say them by rote. But at our best, our countries have worked to actually give meaning to liberty, equality, fraternity. They’ve tried to give meaning to freedom of speech. They’ve tried to give meaning to human rights. They’ve tried to give meaning to democracy.”

He continued: “And ultimately — obviously there are differences of culture, of history, of so many things — but when it comes to a basic set of shared values, there are few countries that are closer.”

This amounted to a deeply felt personal name for France and the United States to resume their bond by standing collectively at a time of challenges, from the coronavirus pandemic to the rise of China, that current “an imperative for cooperation, for coordination, for working together,” in Mr. Blinken’s phrases.

Nevertheless, the convergence of American and French views was a little stunning in that Mr. Macron has made a number of remarks just lately insisting on the significance of Europe’s strategic autonomy.

Former President Donald J. Trump disparaged conventional alliances, began commerce wars and resisted confronting Russian aggression. U.S. allies have expressed aid that President Biden has turned American overseas coverage again in additional acquainted instructions, however their expertise with Mr. Trump left them warier than ever of following Washington’s lead.

June 25, 2021, 5:14 p.m. ET

Mr. Macron has appeared extra conciliatory than the United States towards China and has insisted that Europe be at the desk in arms management negotiations between the United States and Russia.

On the eve of the Group of 7 and NATO conferences earlier this month, Mr. Macron stated: “Unless my map has a problem, China is not part of the geography of the Atlantic” — a clear jab at NATO confronting China.

Such Gaullist assertions of impartial French technique are inclined to play properly right here, and Mr. Macron plans to run for re-election subsequent year. In the finish, France joined the different massive, rich democracies at the G7 in making clear that they noticed China and Russia as repressive and aggressive ideological rivals, and different NATO members in saying China presents “systemic challenges” to “areas relevant to military security.”

China’s Belt and Road Initiative has constructed roads, ports, railways and communications networks throughout Africa and elsewhere, increasing Beijing’s financial and safety affect with the nations that signal on, leaving them beholden and usually deeply indebted.

Turning to the Biden Administration’s try to counter China’s technique by way of a “Build Back Better for the World” program, dubbed B3W, Mr. Blinken made clear in the interview which he thinks the higher possibility is for low and middle-income nations.

“We’re offering something positive and affirmative,” he stated. “It so happens that what China is offering is not so positive and not so affirmative. Well, I think the contrast is clear.”

With China, he stated, “there are always strings attached,” together with “the use of vaccines as a coercive tool with other countries.” The West, against this, was pledging one billion vaccine doses to finish the pandemic “with no political strings.”

After six rounds of nuclear talks with Tehran and no settlement to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Mr. Trump deserted, Mr. Blinken stated that the progress of Iran’s nuclear program might turn out to be an insurmountable impediment.

“If this continues, if they continue to spin more sophisticated centrifuges at higher and higher levels, we will get to a point where it will be very difficult as a practical matter” to return to the parameters of the unique nuclear deal, he stated.

“I can’t put a date on it,” Mr. Blinken stated of the day when the Biden administration may stroll away from the nuclear talks, however “it’s getting closer.”

During a information convention earlier in the day with Mr. Le Drian, Mr. Blinken warned that “serious differences” stick with Tehran over its nuclear program however that stopping an Iranian nuclear weapons functionality stays in the American nationwide curiosity.

Of his deliberate meeting subsequent week in Italy with the new Israeli overseas minister, Yair Lapid, Mr. Blinken stated one intention was to “try to rebuild a little bit more trust and confidence between Israelis and Palestinians so that at some point the conditions may exist to actually to move forward again on negotiations, on a lasting peace.”

The Biden administration strongly supported the Abraham Accords, concluded underneath the Trump Administration, normalizing Israel’s relations with 4 Arab states, Mr. Blinken stated.

Referring to Israel’s current conflict with Hamas in Gaza, in addition to clashes in Israel and the occupied West Bank, he added, “But we also know — and I think we’ve just seen evidence of that — that they are not a substitute for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian issue.”

Michael Crowley contributed reporting from Paris.