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Biden Keen to Resume Military Ties With China to Avoid Flare-ups

The Biden-Xi talks on Wednesday will cover issues from Israel’s war with Hamas, Russia’s war with Ukraine, North Korea, Taiwan, the Indo-Pacific, rights, fentanyl, plus AI, trade and economic ties


China's President Xi meets US leader Joe Biden in Bali at the G20 summit in November 2022. The pair are due to meet again on Wednesday, when many issues will be discussed, although analysts are not expecting any major breakthroughs (Reuters).

 

US President Joe Biden is keen to stabilize ties with China by refreshing links between the two country’s militaries.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday the US wanted to re-establish military-to-military contacts with China when the president meets the Chinese leader this week.

Biden will meet President Xi Jinping in person for the first time in a year on Wednesday during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco. It will be only the second in-person meeting between the two leaders since Biden took office in January 2021.

“The president is determined to see the re-establishment of military-to-military ties because he believes it’s in the US national security interest,” Sullivan said in an interview with CBS. “We need those lines of communication so that there aren’t mistakes or miscalculations or miscommunication.”

 

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Sullivan said restored military ties could take place at every level from senior leadership to the tactical operational level, as well “on the water and in the air in the Indo-Pacific.”

Sullivan said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Biden would seek to “advance the ball” on military ties during his meeting with Xi, but declined to provide further details.

“The Chinese have basically severed those communication links. President Biden would like to re-establish that,” Sullivan said. “This is a top agenda item.”

The Biden-Xi meeting is expected to cover global issues from the Israel-Hamas war to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea’s ties with Russia, Taiwan, the Indo-Pacific, human rights, fentanyl production, artificial intelligence, as well as “fair” trade and economic relations, a senior US official said.

Relations between the two countries grew frosty after Biden ordered the shooting down in February of a suspected Chinese spy balloon that flew over the United States.

But top Biden administration officials have since visited Beijing and met with their counterparts to rebuild communications and trust.

 

  • Reuters report with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.

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