Attends ASEAN Summits in Cambodia and G20 in Indonesia. Biden meets his Chinese counterpart for the first time | news
After attending the Egypt Climate Summit (COP27), US President Joe Biden arrived in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh to attend the Summit of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) before traveling to Indonesia to attend the G20 Summit.
Cambodia hosts the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and a parallel summit of East Asian countries, with the regional bloc addressing a group of leaders.
The ASEAN summit is expected to focus on the war between Russia and Ukraine, Chinese military activities in the disputed waters and unrest in Myanmar following the military coup.
While attending the summit and meeting with ASEAN leaders, Biden is also scheduled for separate meetings with leaders of Cambodia, Japan and South Korea. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Yoon Sok-yeol met with ASEAN leaders on Friday.
Washington is seeking increased cooperation with the 10 member states of the Association of ASEAN to counteract China’s growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Biden will discuss with ASEAN leaders the need for freedom of navigation and ensure the United States plays a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in the region.
He added that the US President will also use the ASEAN opportunity to discuss how to coordinate more closely to continue imposing costs and increasing pressure on Myanmar’s military junta. He will also discuss with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts during the ASEAN summit what Sullivan called North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will attend some meetings, while Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is also in Cambodia after signing the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with ASEAN as Kyiv seeks to strengthen ties with the bloc.
On the flip side, some analysts have downplayed expectations of major developments from Biden’s presence at ASEAN meetings, but noted that it provides more evidence of how the United States can return to “normal diplomacy.”
“President Trump has not attended a single East Asia summit during his four-year tenure,” said Greg Pauling, director of the Southeast Asia program at the Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Pauling noted that one of the outcomes of Biden’s trip will be to make the US-ASEAN partnership a comprehensive strategic partnership.
Meet the Chinese President
Biden’s arrival in Cambodia follows a brief visit to Egypt to attend the United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP27). After attending the ASEAN summit, Biden will travel to the Indonesian island of Bali to attend the G-20 summit next Tuesday and Wednesday.
In that regard, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that Biden will raise the issue of North Korea in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of that summit, when they meet for the first time.
In a speech on Air Force One en route to Cambodia, Sullivan said Biden would not apply for China but would share his “view” with Xi Jinping.
This view is that “North Korea poses a threat not only to the United States, not only to South Korea and Japan, but also to peace and stability throughout the region.”
He added that China “has an interest in playing a constructive role in containing North Korea’s worst tendencies,” noting that the US president will tell his Chinese counterpart that if Pyongyang moves forward, it will a stronger American military presence in the region. and pointed out that the face-to-face meeting of the two presidents will allow for clarification of positions and better understanding.
For its part, China expressed its hope of meeting with the United States halfway; Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian expressed hope that the differences between the two sides would be properly managed to avoid miscalculations, as he put it.
Biden and Xi, the leaders of the world’s two largest economies, have spoken repeatedly by phone since the Democrat became president in January 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic and Xi’s reluctance to travel abroad hampered their face-to-face meetings.
Guterres appeals to Myanmar
In a different context, on Saturday, from Phnom Penh where Southeast Asian leaders were meeting, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the Myanmar Military Council to “return immediately to the path of democratic transformation”.
Guterres described the situation in Myanmar as an “endless nightmare” that has witnessed a bloody conflict since the coup in February 2021, for which a peaceful solution has not yet been found.
“I call on the Myanmar authorities to listen to their people, release political prisoners and immediately return to the path of democratic transition. This is the only path to stability and peace,” Guterres told reporters.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders at their meeting in Cambodia on Friday agreed to “engage” opposition groups in the peace process in Myanmar. However, her announcement angered Naypyidaw, who “condemned,” as she described, her decision to deal with “illegal and terrorist organizations.”
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