Biden confident China ‘not looking’ for North Korea to escalate

US President Joe Biden (right) with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 leaders' summit in Bali on Nov 14, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

BALI - China does not want to see North Korea “engage in further escalation” after a spate of recent missile tests, US President Joe Biden said after talks with his Chinese counterpart on Monday.

“I’m confident China’s not looking for North Korea to engage in further escalation,” Mr Biden said after talks with Mr Xi Jinping in Bali, warning further provocation by Pyongyang risked Washington building up its own regional capacities.

Mr Biden and Mr Xi Jinping agreed in their talks that nuclear weapons should never be used, including in Ukraine, the White House said.

“President Biden and President Xi reiterated their agreement that a nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won and underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement.

Mr Xi told Mr Biden his country is “deeply concerned” about the situation in Ukraine, Beijing’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“President Xi pointed out that China is highly concerned about the current situation in Ukraine,” Beijing said in a readout after over three hours of talks between the leaders, adding that Chinese officials “support and look forward to a resumption of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine”.

Mr Biden also told Mr Xi that China’s “aggressive” actions on Taiwan put peace at risk.

The White House said Mr Biden had raised objections to China’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan”, adding they “undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader region”.

Mr Xi, on his part, said the Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s core interests, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations.

China and the US are two major countries with different histories, cultures, social systems and development paths, and there have been and will continue to be differences between the two countries, Mr Xi said.

However, such differences should not become an obstacle to growing China-US relations, Mr Xi added.

The pair held their first face-to-face talks since Mr Biden took office on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting expected to be dominated by the war in Ukraine.

The pair shook hands at the start of the meeting, with Mr Biden saying the superpowers shared the responsibility to show the world that they can “manage our differences, prevent competition from becoming conflict”.

The White House said he had told Mr Xi that Washington would “continue to compete vigorously” with China, but “this competition should not veer into conflict”.

Mr Biden also told Mr Xi the world should encourage North Korea to act “responsibly”, after a record-breaking series of missile launches by Pyongyang and growing fears of a new nuclear test. AFP, XINHUA

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