Biden, Xi to engage within next few weeks: White House official

Jun 28 , 2022. 10 hours ago – 00:10 KYODO NEWS

U.S. President Joe Biden (L, Getty/Kyodo) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (Kyodo). 

MUNICH – U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to have a chance to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping within the next few weeks, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday.

The last time Biden held talks with Xi was in March through a video call, weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started.

Speaking to reporters in Germany, where the Group of Seven leaders are meeting and coming up with steps to counter Beijing’s growing economic clout, Sullivan said he would not put a “particular timeframe” on the expected engagement between the two leaders, but noted that it is “not going to be immediately after the G-7.”

He also hailed the “increasing convergence” among the G-7 and NATO, which will also hold a summit later this week, regarding the challenge posed by China as well as the “urgent” need for alignment among the world’s leading market democracies to deal with China’s so-called non-market economic practices and human rights issues.

“I think you can expect that the G-7 statement will speak to all of those, and then I think you can expect that the NATO Strategic Concept will also speak in ways that are unprecedented about the challenge that China poses,” Sullivan said, referring to documents to be released through the two summits.

The three-day G-7 summit taking place in southern Germany will end on Tuesday, followed by a two-day NATO summit in Spain from Wednesday. All G-7 countries except for Japan are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Japan has been invited to the trans-Atlantic alliance’s summit as one of the four Asia-Pacific partners.

The previous Strategic Concept, a guiding document for the alliance over the span of roughly a decade, was adopted in 2010. The new one will mention China for the first time, reflecting concerns over Beijing’s military buildup, its ties with Russia and perceived attempts to undermine the rules-based international order.

While the G-7 summit has been heavily focused on dealing with Russia’s war in Ukraine and its consequences on the global economy, the leaders announced on Sunday the formal launch of an infrastructure project for the developing world in a bid to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment is expected to offer a “positive alternative” to infrastructure models that sell “debt traps,” U.S. officials have said, a veiled criticism of the Chinese initiative known for its record of saddling developing countries with debt and for poor environmental and labor standards.

But Sullivan reiterated that the United States is not expecting competition with China to veer into confrontation or conflict, nor is it seeking to divide the world into rival blocs and make countries choose.

“We want to stand for a set of principles, rules of the road that are fair and understood and agreed by everybody. And we want to ensure that we’re working with like-minded partners to hold China accountable to adhere to those rules,” the official said.

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