US calls for stronger ties to counter China

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says China's increasing assertiveness is an urgent threat to NATO and urged allies to work together to overcome the challenges that China poses.

Blinken delivered a speech on Wednesday at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on his first visit to Europe since taking office.

The US secretary strongly condemned China for increasing military capabilities and threatening freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region. He said Beijing is increasingly using access to critical resources, markets, and technologies to pressure US allies.

Blinken added, "Beijing's military ambitions are growing by the year" and "the challenges that once seemed half a world away are no longer remote."

He also said that if the allies work together to make real their positive vision for the international order, they can outcompete China or anyone else on any playing field.

Blinken noted that the US won't force its allies into a "us or them" choice with China. He indicated the US will respect each state's decision on whether to cooperate with China on challenges like climate change and the coronavirus.