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Secretary Blinken to focus on human rights 

Nikkei took up Secretary of State Blinken’s first press conference on Wednesday, focusing on his comments on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and China’s oppression of Uyghurs. The daily said the new top U.S. diplomat underscored the Biden administration’s strong commitment to human rights diplomacy in a bid to play up a clear departure from the Trump administration’s foreign policy, explaining that partly because of his family background, the Secretary is a powerful advocate of improving the human rights situation around the world. The paper added, however, that the Secretary’s strong focus on human rights may end up stalling the administration’s foreign policy agenda since China and other autocratic states are bound to reject U.S. emphasis on human rights. The daily stated in conclusion: “Since President Trump did not accept the results of an election even though elections constitute the core of democracy, the U.S. may no longer be qualified to criticize other countries for human rights violations. It is imperative for the Biden administration to repair the divisions in U.S. society and embody the values of democracy.”   

 

Nikkei separately reported that in a bid to reconstruct the U.S. diplomacy that was thrown into confusion by former President Trump’s intuitive approach, President Biden has appointed veteran diplomats to key portfolios at the State Department, including Wendy Sherman as deputy secretary and former Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland as under secretary for political affairs. While noting that Secretary Blinken and many other appointees at the department have deep expertise in Europe and the Middle East, the daily said it remains to be seen how these diplomats will formulate and conduct Asia diplomacy at a time when China looms larger on the U.S. security radar.    

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