Joe Biden and Xi Jinping meet at G20 Summit in Bali

Bali, Indonesia: The Ukraine war and US-China tensions overshadowed the ASEAN summit when Chinese President Xi Jinping met US President Joe Biden face-to-face for the first time. The three-day summit ended on Sunday in Cambodia’s capital city. The influence of the divided world was clearly felt there. After the conference, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen said- “Whatever the circumstances, we have to maintain the unity of ASEAN in the interest of the region.”

US President Joe Biden, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also participated in the East Asia Summit held shortly before the completion of the ASEAN summit. Apart from ASEAN member countries, dialogue partners of this group also participate in the East Asia Summit. India, South Korea, Australia, and Russia are also dialogue partners of ASEAN.

The White House issued a statement in Washington on Sunday. In the statement, Biden said that there should be complete freedom of flight and navigation over the East China Sea and the South China Sea. He said that although he wanted to maintain dialogue with China, he would continue to vigorously raise the question of alleged human rights violations in China.

China has been advocating for resolving maritime disputes in the region bilaterally with various countries. Jinping has condemned US interference in this matter. At the East Asia Summit, Li Keqiang said, “We have full confidence, discretion, and ability to take the issue of the South China Sea in our hands.” The issue of North Korea also came up at the conference. Biden said that the US, Japan, and South Korea are more united today than ever before to counter the threat from North Korea.

The first draft of the joint communique of the conference stressed on “respecting sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity” and an immediate end to the conflict. But Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov raised the issue of the expansion of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in the Asia-Pacific region. He alleged that the US and its allies were not taking care of the “interests of other countries present here”. Due to such opposing positions, the summit could not reach any consensus. Though Jinping and Biden knew each other for a very long time, they never met face to face.

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