Cambodia's Phnom Penh At a conference in Cambodia on Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden gave a full-throated American commitment to the countries of Southeast Asia, promising to support efforts to counter China's expanding dominance in the region without specifically addressing the other superpower.
At the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference in Phnom Penh, Chinese President Xi Jinping was not present. However, Xi watched the proceedings closely only two days before he and Biden are scheduled to meet for the first time in person at the G20 summit in Indonesia.
Even while the president didn't mention China by name, his message was firmly directed at Xi's country, which the Biden White House has proclaimed its greatest economic and military opponent of the twenty-first century. Together, we will address the most pressing concerns of our day, such as climate change, health security, and defense against grave dangers to the rule of law and order. "We'll create a free and prosperous, resilient, secure, and open Indo-Pacific."
From trade to shipping to intellectual property, the United States has long criticized China's violations of the international rules-based system. Biden wanted to highlight his administration's support for a region that the United States has far too frequently ignored.
His effort in Phnom Penh was intended to lay the groundwork for his meeting with Xi, which will take place on Monday at the G20 summit of the world's strongest economies. This will be his first face-to-face encounter with the Chinese leader since entering office. place in Indonesia on the island of Bali this year. Biden's agenda in ASEAN was largely focused on voicing opposition to Beijing. In the South China Sea, where the U.S. contends that countries are free to fly and sail anywhere international law permits, he was to advocate for greater freedom of navigation. The United States had stated that China's opposition to such freedom posed a threat to the international system of rules. Additionally, the U.S. started working on using radio frequencies from commercial satellites to better track so-called black shipping and illicit fishing in an effort to combat China's unrestricted fishing. As a response to China's Belt and Road plan, Biden also promised to support the region's infrastructure initiative and to head up a regional trade delegation.
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