US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, Aug 8 warned that allowing Russia to bully Ukraine, and the latter ceding its territory without defence would imply an “open season” worldwide. During a presser, speaking alongside his South African counterpart, foreign minister Naledi Pandor whilst Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda tour, Blinken cautioned that allowing a “big country to bully a smaller one, to simply invade it and take its territory, is going to be open season, not just in Europe but around the world.”
Blinken iterated that it was integral for the United States to stand up to Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine as it threatens the rules-based international order. His remarks came as thousands of troops are waging a battle in the eastern and the southern flank of Ukraine since Feb. 24. Russia’s authoritarian leader Vladimir Putin has called the invasion a “special military operation” to “de-nazify” the pro-Western Ukrainian territory.
US Secretary of State condemns Russia’s ally China
Blinken’s counterpart, whose country South Africa abstained from a United Nations vote to hold Russia accountable for war crimes, noted that Africa does not support conflicts but that the prescripts of international law were not uniformly applied. She brought up the conflict between Israel and Palestine, as she also hurled support for Ukraine. “We should be equally concerned,” she told Blinken.
The US Secretary of State also condemned China for ceasing cooperation with the United States on key issues such as climate change. Blinken stated that Beijing is “punishing the entire world, and especially the developing world and, notably, Africa”. China last week announced a series of countermeasures in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial Taiwan visit.
The measures were laid after undertaken after China’s Ambassador to the US Qin Gang was summoned to the White House to question Beijing’s flexing of military muscle as it kick-started the long-range live fire exercises and launched five ballistic missiles that landed on Taiwan’s sovereign land in one of the largest military drills in the Taiwan Strait yet. Among the eight countermeasures that Beijing announced against the US for Pelosi’s visit, it decided to halt the dialogue with the US in several key areas, including Climate Change and anti-drug bilateral cooperation.