United States' Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday called for stability in the Indo-Pacific region and urged the world to work together to end threatening behaviour by North Korea after its latest missile launch.
In broad remarks made after a bilateral meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi in Jakarta, he also called for a "just and lasting peace to Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine" and urged Myanmar's military to end hostilities and start dialogue.
"We must uphold freedom of navigation in the South and East China seas and maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," he said, referring to hotspots in which the U.S.-China rivalry and regional tensions play out.
On Thursday, Chinese fighter jets monitored a U.S. Navy patrol plane that flew through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, as China carried out military exercises south of the island, which it claims as one of its provinces.
Blinken held talks that same day with China's top diplomat Wang Yi, part of what the State Department said was a series of interactions aimed at keeping communication channels open and preventing miscalculations.
In their second meeting in less than a month, Blinken raised alleged Chinese involvement in computer hacking a day after Microsoft said Chinese state-backed hackers had breached email accounts of U.S. government agencies, while Wang pushed back on what he called U.S. "interference" in China's affairs.
Wang told Blinken the key to bringing the relationship "back on the right track" was taking practical actions, and said the United States should "adopt a rational and pragmatic attitude (and) meet China halfway," China's foreign ministry said.
In trans-Pacific trade pact meeting in Auckland, Blinken denounced Pyongyang's launch on Wednesday of its latest Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile.
"We need to work together to end North Korea's unlawful weapons of mass destruction program and ballistic missile launches," he said.
He also touched on Myanmar's bloody crisis, saying its ruling military must be pushed to stop violence and implement a peace plan it agreed with its Southeast Asian neighbours two years ago.
Reporting by Kate Lamb and Stanley Widianto; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Martin Petty. (Reuters)