U.S. Secretary of State Antonin Blinken marked his first trip to Asia as the country’s top diplomat by appearing to take a parting shot at the Trump administration.
“Diplomacy is back at the center of U.S. foreign policy,” he posted from his official account. “Today, I’m en route to Tokyo and Seoul to discuss how the United States will strengthen our cooperation in the #IndoPacific and across the globe with two of our closest allies.”
Richard Grenell, the former acting director of the U.S. National Intelligence, responded to the tweet and said he hopes it gets fact-checked by reporters.
Grenell pointed out that former President Trump did not start any new wars while in office “and his diplomatic successes were actual peace deals and economic normalization agreements.
“Let’s see what peace deals you can get with your new style of diplomacy,” he tweeted.
Israel signed peace deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan in the waning days of the Trump administration. For the U.S.’ part, Sudan was taken off the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and the U.S. acknowledged an intent to sell up to 50 F-35 jets to the Emirates. Trump had hoped to get Saudi Arabia in on the accords, but no such deal came to fruition.
Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are heading to Japan and South Korea for four days of talks starting Monday as the new administration tries to shore up partnerships with the two key regional allies.
Blinken has stressed the importance of Washington’s relationship in the Indo-Pacific region and said as early as his confirmation hearings in January that there is no doubt that China poses the greatest threat of any nation to the U.S. He credited former President Trump at the time for “taking a tougher approach to China.”
“Not the way he went about it in a number of ways, but the basic principle was right,” he said.
Fox News’ Morgan Phillips and the Associated Press contributed to this report