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Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Francine Lacqua of Bloomberg

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Paris, France

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

QUESTION:  Fabulous.  Secretary, thank you so much for speaking to Bloomberg.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s great to be with you.

QUESTION:  We’re here in France.  It’s been a difficult three weeks diplomatically.  How angry really were the French over the subs?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, we’ve had a – we’ve had a very good couple of days here, including very good meetings with my counterpart, the Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, also with President Macron, and we are very much focused on moving forward.  I think we both see an opportunity that we’re seizing on the instructions of President Biden and President Macron to deepen our cooperation, to deepen our consultations, to deepen our coordination in a whole series of areas – everything from the Sahel to Euro-Atlantic security to the Indo-Pacific, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

QUESTION:  What does it mean in terms of deals?  Are we actually going to see any signing or any deals being made?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s less a question of deals and more a question of how can we deepen what is already incredibly strong cooperation and coordination on these security issues and other issues, economic issues, that actually have an impact on the lives of our citizens and matter to both of us.  And I think we’re finding – again, at the direction of both of our presidents – that we’re doing exactly that, and this will – there’s a lot of hard work to be done to actually do that, to get that done, but I think over the course of the coming weeks and coming months you’ll see that.

QUESTION:  Secretary, do you have any concerns that European strategic autonomy would actually undermine NATO?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  The idea that Europe increases its defense capacity, its security capacity is a good one.  It’s in our interest.  Provided, again, that it is complementary to NATO, and there’s no reason that it can’t or won’t be.  We want to see our partners have the capacity to engage, to deal with common challenges.  And so, again, as long as it’s done in a way that’s complementary to the Alliance, it’s a good thing and something we support.

QUESTION:  How should the West and how should Europe deal with Putin given these high energy prices that we talk about every day?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, I think the high energy prices we’re seeing now are – reinforce a few things.  They reinforce the need for a transition to new forms of energy, particularly sustainable energy, and at the same time they reinforce the need for energy diversification, something Europe’s been engaged in for some time but we need to do more and go further.  But we’re in the midst of a lengthy transition to renewables of various kinds, away from fossil fuels.  In – during that transition you can have challenging, bumpy patches before you actually get to the point where you have all of these renewable energies that are online and able to fill the gap.  But I think it calls on the need for coordination and it calls on the need for pursuing diversification.

QUESTION:  Is Russia playing a game by not sending more gas?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, Russia has in the past used energy as a tool, or some would say a weapon, of its foreign policy.  I hope that’s not what we’re going to see going forward, especially as we get to the winter.  But again, I think you’ll see countries working together, coordinating, cooperating to deal with any energy problems.

QUESTION:  Is there anything that the U.S. can actually do to try and wean off Europe off some of the Russian gas?  So LNG at the moment is going a lot to Asia because they’re outbidding the Europeans.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Again, this is really a process of diversifying that takes time, but it takes consistent effort and determination.  And it’s diversification both, to some extent, within existing types of energy but, especially, it’s transition to renewables and away from fossil fuel.  These are long-term efforts, long-term projects, but I think this just reinforces the need to really, if you’ll forgive the expression, energize those efforts.

QUESTION:  Secretary, when do you think that President Biden will meet President Xi?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  They spoke on the phone just a few weeks ago and had a productive conversation covering a lot of issues, and they – whether they’ll have occasion to get together in the weeks or months ahead, we’ll see.  There is – they’re likely to both participate in some fashion in the G20 meeting, for example.  But they had a good, productive conversation and we’ll continue the work that they set out.

QUESTION:  We’ve seen incursions of Chinese (inaudible) in Taiwan.  Is there a red line that you think President Xi will not cross?  Does he understand a red line, or are tensions high?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Look, the actions we’ve seen by China are provocative and potentially destabilizing.  So what I hope is that these actions will cease because there is always the possibility of miscalculation, of miscommunication, and that’s a – that’s dangerous.  So in the past, we’ve managed to handle the issues surrounding Taiwan in a way that’s actually sustained stability.  Provocative actions go in exactly the wrong direction.  And it’s very important that no one take any unilateral actions that change the status quo by force, and so we really need to see China cease some of the actions that it’s taken because they are potentially a source of instability, not stability.

QUESTION:  And so the U.S. needs to take a hard line, but at the same time trying to find a common agreement when it comes to climate change?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, there are many issues in the relationship between the United States and China.  It is one of the most consequential relationships in the world.  It’s one of the most complicated relationships in the world, and it has different aspects to it.  There is a – certainly a competitive aspect that we know very well.  There are adversarial aspects.  There are also cooperative aspects.  And we have to be able to deal and engage in every single one of these aspects of the relationship.

At the same time, climate happens to be an existential issue that affects everyone on the planet, whether it’s the United States, whether it’s China, whether it’s any other country, and China, like the United States, has great responsibility when it comes to dealing effectively with climate change.  We’re about 15 percent of global emissions.  China is 36, 37 percent of global emissions.  And so it’s important for both of us to step up and meet our responsibilities, and that means having ambitious targets for how we’re going to actually curb climate change.  It also means making sure that we’re contributing to help others deal with resilience, to deal with adaptation, and it means taking important steps like, for example, moving away from coal.

QUESTION:  Secretary, there’s a lot of focus, of course, on how the China – the Chinese authorities are dealing with Evergrande.  What does it tell you about Chinese stewardship?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, look, China has to make sovereign economic decisions for itself.  But we also know that what China does economically is going to have profound ramifications, profound effects on literally the entire world because all of our economies are so intertwined.  So certainly when it comes to something that could have a major impact on the Chinese economy, we look to China to act with – to act responsibly and to deal effectively with any challenges.

QUESTION:  Secretary, thank you so much for your time today.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good to be with you.  Thank you.

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