Prior to their first face-to-face meeting at the G20 conference next week, US President Joe Biden promised to push Chinese President Xi Jinping to restrain North Korea when he arrived in Asia on Saturday.
The two countries’ summit comes after North Korea conducted a record-breaking string of missile launches, which stoked fears that the isolated nation may soon carry out its seventh nuclear test.
According to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Biden will inform Xi during their meeting on Monday outside the G20 summit that China, Pyongyang’s main ally, is “interested in playing a constructive role in restraining North Korea’s worst tendencies.”
Biden will also tell Xi that if North Korea’s missile and nuclear build-up “keeps going down this road, it will simply mean further enhanced American military and security presence in the region.”
Biden and Xi, the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies, have spoken by phone multiple times since Biden became president in January 2021.
But the COVID-19 pandemic and Xi’s subsequent aversion to foreign travel have prevented them from meeting in person.
In meetings with ASEAN leaders before to the G20, Biden will promote the US’s commitment to Southeast Asia in an effort to counteract Beijing’s influence in the region.
Vladimir Putin, who has been shunned by the West due to his invasion of Ukraine, will noticeably be missing from the meeting and will instead be represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
According to the Russian TASS news agency, Lavrov will push Moscow’s position that the United States is “destabilizing” the Asia-Pacific region with a confrontational stance.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, is anticipated to participate remotely in the G20 after his request to address the ASEAN summit was denied.