East Asian summit highlights US-China rift – Community News
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East Asian summit highlights US-China rift

US President Joe Biden and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang argued over the issue of the South China Sea during an East Asia Summit meeting.

The online meeting on Wednesday attended the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan, the United States, China, Russia, India, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.

An important topic has been the South China Sea, where China has stepped up its activities by building artificial islands and setting up military bases.

In an apparent effort to keep China in check, the United States recently created a security framework known as AUKUS with Australia and Britain in the Indo-Pacific region.

At the meeting, Biden expressed concern about threats to the international rules-based order, apparently with China’s increasing assertiveness in mind.

Biden vowed to stand alongside US allies and other partners in support of democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of the seas.

China’s Xinhua News Agency said Li replied that thanks to the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the overall situation in the South China Sea has remained stable, with no problems with freedom of navigation.

Several ASEAN leaders expressed concern about a deeper rift between the US and China over the sea and other issues.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha proposed to change the East Asian summit from a forum for competition to one for cooperation.

Brunei, which chaired the meeting, will prepare a statement summarizing the discussions.