Biden will seek to establish ‘red lines’ in talks with Xi

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US President Joe Biden said on Sunday he would seek to draw “red lines” in America’s strained relationship with Beijing when he holds high-stakes talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Biden said he would attend Monday’s meeting on the sidelines of a stronger G20 summit in Indonesia after his Democratic Party’s unexpected success in the midterm elections he was expected to lose heavily.

Washington and Beijing are at odds on issues ranging from trade to human rights in China’s Xinjiang region and the status of the autonomous island of Taiwan. Biden said he expected candid talks with Xi.

“I know Xi Jinping, he knows me,” he added, saying they have always had “direct talks.”

The pair have known each other for more than a decade, dating back to Biden’s days as vice president, but Monday will see them meet face to face for the first time in their current roles.

“We have very few misunderstandings. We just have to understand what the red lines are,” Biden said.

White House officials have said Biden will push China to use its influence to rein in North Korea after a record series of missile tests raised fears the reclusive regime could soon conduct its seventh nuclear test.

Biden got a boost overnight with the news that Democrats retained their effective majority in the US Senate thanks to Catherine Cortez Masto’s victory in Nevada.

“I know I’m coming in stronger,” he said of the impact of midterm on his talks with Xi.

Japan and South Korea discuss

Biden will meet his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday to discuss ways to deal with the threat posed by the North’s missile program.

China is Pyongyang’s main ally and US officials say that, although Biden will not make demands, he will warn Xi that a further missile and nuclear buildup would mean the US would strengthen its military presence in the region. – which Beijing fiercely opposes.

“North Korea poses a threat not only to the United States, not just to (South Korea) and Japan, but to peace and stability in the entire region,” the US adviser told reporters. national security, Jake Sullivan.

Kim Jong Un’s regime has stepped up missile launches in response to large-scale US-South Korean air drills, which the North has called “aggressive and provocative”.

Biden spoke Sunday with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, a key regional ally and member of the Quad security group.

Beijing has denounced the Quad, which also includes the United States, Japan and India, as an attempt to isolate it.

Diplomatic Blitz

Biden flew to Phnom Penh from the COP27 climate conference as part of US efforts to build influence in Southeast Asia to counter China.

China has flexed its muscles – through trade, diplomacy and military influence – in recent years in a region it considers its strategic backyard.

Biden told leaders at an East Asia summit — including Chinese Premier Li Keqiang — on Sunday that the United States would speak out against Beijing’s rights abuses, according to a White House press release. .

A day earlier, Biden had delivered a veiled swipe at Beijing during talks with leaders of the regional bloc the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

He said the United States would work with ASEAN to “defend against significant threats to the rules-based order and threats to the rule of law.”

Although the president did not refer to China by name, Washington has long criticized what it says are Beijing’s efforts to undermine international standards on everything from intellectual property to human rights.

Despite US-China tensions, the couple toasted together during a toast at a gala dinner on Saturday night, where they sat either side of the host, Cambodian leader Hun Sen.

As Biden heads to the meeting with Democrat-backed Xi seeing a predicted Republican “red wave,” Xi was crowned last month for a historic third term as supreme leader by the Chinese Communist Party’s congress.

Li met the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, at the ASEAN meeting on Saturday, when he also addressed the participants.

Biden and Li took part in an East Asia summit on Sunday that caps off the first leg of a trilogy of major gatherings in the region, with the G20 on the vacation island of Bali and a gathering of the APEC in Bangkok to follow.

The consequences of the war in Ukraine are expected to dominate the upcoming talks, although Russian President Vladimir Putin will notably be absent.

(AFP)

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