Biden to warn Xi North Korea’s path could prompt bigger U.S. military presence

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, Nov 12 (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden will warn Chinese President Xi Jinping at a meeting on Monday that North Korea’s continued bid for weapons development will result in an increased US military presence in the region, the said White House .

The United States is concerned that North Korea plans to resume nuclear tests for the first time since 2017 and believes China and Russia have the ability to stop it.

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

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Biden will tell Xi North Korea poses a threat, not just to the United States and its allies South Korea and Japan, but to peace and stability across the region.

“If North Korea continues down this path, it simply means a further increased 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 over the weekend.

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

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

US-led international sanctions have failed to halt North Korea’s growing weapons programs. This year’s record-breaking weapons testing program included ICBMs destined to reach the US mainland.

While China and Russia backed tightened UN sanctions after North Korea’s last nuclear test in 2017, in May they vetoed a US-led push for more UN penalties for ballistic missile relaunches.

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

Daniel Russel, the senior US diplomat to East Asia under former President Barack Obama, recently said China could eventually become an inhibiting factor.

That could happen if Beijing feels its own security directly threatened not only by North Korea’s capabilities but also by the build-up of US and allied forces, he told Reuters.

“One might imagine, and I take no great consolation from it … that Kim’s ability to escalate it will eventually be hampered by China’s own national security interests,” he said.

“That’s cold consolation. And that’s not a strategy, it’s a factor.”

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

Sullivan said Biden plans to preview with them the issues he wants to discuss with Xi and will ask the two leaders about issues for him to raise.

U.S. ties with China have since fallen to their lowest level in decades, and a senior administration official said the meeting aimed to limit the deterioration in ties but would be honest about U.S. concerns such as Taiwan and human rights. Continue reading

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

Biden will try to clarify the positions, he added.

“I think the President doesn’t see this as the end of the road, but rather the beginning of a series of commitments that will include more leader-to-leader meetings in the future.”

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

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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