Antony Blinken to embark on Southeast Asia tour next week

Dec 9, 2021: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Southeast Asia next week to highlight the importance of the region to US counterterrorism strategy in China, and to further the “worsening” crisis in military-ruled Myanmar.

Spokesman Ned Price said in a statement on Wednesday that Blinken would begin his world tour with a meeting of his G7 counterparts in Liverpool, England, from Friday to Sunday. Among other things, Blinken will discuss “building Russian forces on the Ukrainian border” – a red hot crisis that President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin addressed at their virtual summit on Tuesday.

Later Blinken will also head to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to stress the top priority of US foreign policy, which is to challenge an ever more assertive China.

In Jakarta, Blinken will give a speech “on the significance of the Indo-Pacific region” while in Kuala Lumpur he will address the need for the region to remain “free and open,” Price said.

The United States accuses China of regional threats and pressure, especially in the South China Sea. Using Myanmar’s former name, Price said, “Secretary Blinken in each country will resolve the deteriorating crisis in Burma.”

The United States has repeatedly condemned the February 1 military coup that overthrew the civilian government in Myanmar and sent civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to prison. Blinken will stop in Hawaii on December 17 on his way home.

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