“I made clear the US will defend our national interests, stand up for our democratic values, and hold Beijing accountable for its abuses of the international system,” Blinken said on Twitter of his call with senior Chinese official Yang Jiechi.
Blinken told Yang that the United States “will continue to stand up for human rights and democratic values, including in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong,” a State Department statement said of the call, which took place on Friday Washington time.
Blinken also “pressed China to join the international in condemning the military coup in Burma,” it said.
The top US diplomat said the United States would hold Beijing “accountable for its efforts to threaten stability in the Indo-Pacific, including across the Taiwan Strait, and its undermining of the rules-based international system.”
The tough tone comes after Blinken in his confirmation hearing said he would continue former president Donald Trump’s tougher approach to China in a rare point of agreement between the two administrations.
Blinken has said he agrees with a determination by the State Department under Trump that Beijing is carrying out genocide in the western region of Xinjiang, where rights groups say more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking people have been rounded up in camps.
Beijing has also ramped up a crackdown in Hong Kong, arresting leading activists, after imposing a new law against subversion following major protests in the financial hub to which it had guaranteed a separate system.