Biden to warn Xi’s path in North Korea could lead to greater US military presence

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, Nov 12 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will warn Chinese President Xi Jinping at a meeting on Monday that North Korea’s continued pursuit of weapons development will lead to a strengthened US military in the region, the White House said. .

The United States fears that North Korea is considering resuming nuclear bomb testing for the first time since 2017 and believes that China and Russia have the leverage to persuade him not to.

Biden and Xi are set to hold their first face-to-face meeting as national leaders on the sidelines of a summit of the G20 group of nations on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden would tell Xi that North Korea posed a threat, not just to the United States and its allies South Korea and Japan, but to peace and stability throughout the region.

“If North Korea continues on this path, it will simply mean a strengthened American military and security presence in the region,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One on Saturday, as Biden flew to Cambodia for regional meetings this weekend.

“And so the People’s Republic of China has an interest in playing a constructive role in containing North Korea’s worst tendencies,” Sullivan added, using the country’s official name.

“Whether they choose to do so or not is of course up to them.”

US-led international sanctions failed to stop North Korea’s growing weapons programs. Its record regime of weapons testing this year has included intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to reach the American mainland.

While China and Russia backed tougher UN sanctions after North Korea’s last nuclear test in 2017, in May they vetoed US-led push for more sanctions. of the United Nations for its new ballistic missile launches.

US officials have accused the two countries of enabling Pyongyang’s missile and bomb programs by failing to properly implement UN Security Council sanctions.

Daniel Russel, the top US diplomat for East Asia under former President Barack Obama, said recently that China could eventually become a restraining factor.

That could happen if Beijing felt its own security was directly threatened, not just by North Korea’s capabilities but by the buildup of U.S. and allied forces to deal with them, he told Reuters.

“One would imagine, and I don’t take much consolation from this … that at some point Kim’s ability to step up will be hampered by China’s own national security interests,” he said. declared.

“That’s cold comfort. And that’s not a strategy, but is that a factor.”

The day before his meeting with Xi, Biden will hold talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol in Cambodia. discuss how to curb North Korea’s nuclear program.

Sullivan said Biden plans to preview with them the topics he plans to discuss with Xi and will solicit the two leaders for questions they want him to raise.

US relations with China have since sunk to their lowest level in decades and a senior administration official said the meeting was intended to limit the deterioration of relations, but would be honest about US concerns, such as as Taiwan and human rights. Read more

Sullivan also said Biden hoped his initial face-to-face talks with Xi would lead to more such meetings.

Biden would seek clarification of positions, he added.

“I think the president doesn’t view this as the end of the line, but rather as the beginning of a series of engagements that will also include further leader-to-leader meetings down the road.”

Reporting by Nandita Bose, Steve Holland, Susan Heavey and David Brunnstrom; Written by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Sandra Maler and Clarence Fernandez

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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