WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said on Friday the United States must be prepared to impose costs on China for its actions against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, its crackdown in Hong Kong and threats towards Taiwan.
Sullivan told an event at the United States Institute of Peace that Washington needed to speak with clarity and consistency on the issues.
He said it needed to be “prepared to act, as well to impose costs, for what China is doing in Xinjiang, what it’s doing in Hong Kong, for the bellicosity and threats it is projecting towards Taiwan.”
Sullivan did not elaborate on steps Washington might take.
He said the China issue was at the top of those to be addressed between the United States and allies in Europe.
He stressed the need to agree joint responses with Europe on China’s trade and technology abuses.
“We don’t have entirely aligned perspectives on every one of these issues … I think China is right at the top of the list of things that we’ve got to work together on and where there is work to do to get fully aligned.”
The Biden administration, which took office last week, has indicated it will continue the tough approach to China pursued by former President Donald Trump, but wants Beijing’s cooperation on policy priorities such as climate change.
Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken has endorsed a last-minute determination by his predecessor, Mike Pompeo, that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang. The move increases pressure for more U.S. sanctions, which the Trump administration also imposed over Beijing’s crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong.
Biden’s administration issued a strong statement in support of Taiwan amid stepped up Chinese military activity near the island, stressing that the U.S. commitment to Taipei is “rock solid.”
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom, Michael Martina, Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay; editing by Grant McCool)