STATE OF THE UNION
Interview With Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA; Interview With Dr. Sanjay Gupta; Interview With Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA); Interview With U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken. Aired 9-10a ET
DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Dana Bash.
Tensions between the U.S. and China are rising, after officials clashed in a rare public confrontation earlier this month, and the U.S. and the E.U. imposed new sanctions over China's human rights abuses.
The growing threat from China is one of several reasons the Biden administration is working to reinvigorate America's relationship with allies.
We spoke exclusively to the U.S. secretary of state, Tony Blinken, as he wrapped up a NATO summit in Brussels, about the Biden's -- Biden administration's new approach.
BASH: Thank you so much, Mr. Secretary, for joining me.
I want to start with a speech this week that you gave. You listed China first among the military and non-military threats to the United States. This comes, of course, after you clashed with Chinese officials in Anchorage last week.
China is challenging the U.S. on cybersecurity, economics and with its military and committing what you called genocide against the Uyghurs.
So, do you consider China the United States' biggest adversary?
BLINKEN: Dana, I wouldn't simplify it to one label.
There are clearly and increasingly adversarial aspects of the relationship. There are certainly competitive ones. There are also still some cooperative ones. But the common denominator is the need to approach China from a position of strength, whether it's adversarial, whether it's competitive, whether it's cooperative.
And that's a big part of the reason that I was in -- in Asia last week, in Japan and Korea and a big part of the reason that I'm here in Europe and at NATO and the E.U. this week. It's about making sure that, as we engage China, one of our biggest sources of strength, our alliances, our partnerships, when we approach the challenges that China poses together, We're going to be much more effective in dealing with them.
BASH: You said at your confirmation hearing, Mr. Secretary, that you believe the Chinese government misled the world about coronavirus.
Given that and the millions of people, of course, who have died around the world, should China be punished for that?
BLINKEN: You know, I think the issue for us is to make sure that we do everything possible to prevent another pandemic, even as we're working through this one, or at the very least to make sure that we can mitigate in much more effective ways any damage done if something happens in the future.
And a big part of that is making sure that we have a system in place, including with the World Health Organization, that features transparency, that features information-sharing, and features access for international experts at the start of something like this.
And that's where I think China, like every other country, has real obligations that it needs to make good on. So, I think what we need to be focused on is making sure we're protecting ourselves and protecting the world going forward.
And that's going to require a lot of reform. And it's going to require China to do things that it hasn't done in the past.
BASH: That sounded like a no when it comes to repercussions for what happened in the past, and maybe even that is happening currently, which is the damage that is being done around the world because of this pandemic. No repercussions? No punishment?
BLINKEN: Look, I think that we've got to -- there's a report coming out shortly by the World Health Organization.
We've got real concerns about the methodology and the process that went into that report, including the fact that the government in Beijing apparently helped to write it.
But let's see what comes out in that report. But we do need to have both accountability for the past, but I think our focus needs to be on building a stronger system for the future.