Blinken reiterates U.S. commitment to Taiwan in Afghanistan withdrawal hearing

09/14/2021 12:02 PM
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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends Monday
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends Monday's congressional hearing virtually. CNA photo Sept. 14, 2021

Washington, Sept. 13 (CNA) United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday reiterated Washington's commitment to Taipei during a congressional hearing on the withdrawal from Afghanistan, amid concerns that the U.S. might not come to its allies' defense in the event of a crisis.

During a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing, Republican congressman Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania told Blinken that U.S. allies like Taiwan and Ukraine are scared America does not have their backs after witnessing American troops leaving Afghanistan, which led to the country's takeover by the Taliban.

"I just returned from Ukraine two days ago, my next stop will be Taiwan," Fitzpatrick said during the hearing. "These people are scared to death."

Fitzpatrick asked Blinken if the U.S. will "do whatever it takes" to support Ukraine and Taiwan from Russian and Chinese aggression, respectively.

"Absolutely, we stand by our commitments to both countries," Blinken responded. He further cited discussions between President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that he said reaffirmed those commitments.

Asked about Chinese state-run media ongoing attempt to draw parallels between the U.S.' relationship with Taiwan and Washington's abandonment of Kabul, Blinken said Beijing would love to see Washington stuck in Afghanistan for another decade.

"As I said earlier, whatever protestations they may be making in newspapers or in their propaganda, there is nothing that China would have liked more than for us to have re-up the war in Afghanistan and to remain bogged down for another five, 10 or 20 years," Blinken told Fitzpatrick.

"That would have been profoundly against our strategic interests and profoundly in China's strategic interests," he added.

Meanwhile, during the hearing, Blinken defended President Biden's decision to pull out and pushed back on accusations that the State Department should have done more to evacuate Americans and at-risk Afghans, blaming the previous administration for lacking a plan.

He repeatedly noted that former President Donald Trump had negotiated the withdrawal agreement with the Taliban, and said Biden's administration could not renegotiate because of the group's threats to resume killing Americans.

(By Stacy Hsu and Joseph Yeh)

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