After announcing the details of a major submarine deal with Britain and Australia aimed at countering China on Monday in San Diego, US Vice President Joe Biden said he expected to speak to Chinese leader Xi Jinping soon but would not specify when.
While meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in San Diego, Biden was asked if he was concerned that China would view the AUKUS submarine deal as aggressive. He responded with a resounding “no.”
When asked whether he would inform the media of their upcoming phone call, Biden said “yes” but “no.”
However, despite Biden’s promise to call Xi in the middle of February to discuss what the US claims was a Chinese spy balloon flying through American airspace and further straining relations, no such call has been announced.
After the conclusion of China’s annual National People’s Congress on Monday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States hoped to resume regular communications with China and that Vice President Joe Biden planned to call President Xi soon after the Chinese government resumed work.
Beijing has condemned the AUKUS agreement, which will supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, as an illegal act of nuclear proliferation, despite the fact that the agreement’s stated purpose is to counter China in the Indo-Pacific.
Last week, while speaking to a select group of reporters about AUKUS, Sullivan remarked, “Competition requires dialogue and diplomacy,” in reference to China. We recommend that the People’s Republic of China establish consistent channels of communication between its highest officials.
When asked when Trump might speak with Xi, Sullivan said, “The (US) president anticipates the opportunity to engage in a phone call when the People’s Congress is over and the government, including the president, returns to work in Beijing.”
To that, Sullivan added, “over the course of 18 months we have communicated with (China) about AUKUS and sought more information from them about their intentions,” in reference to China’s military buildup, which includes nuclear-powered submarines.
According to a report in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, Xi plans to contact Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to the report, the call would happen after Xi meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week.
On Monday, as he was flying to San Diego, Sullivan told reporters that Washington has been quietly but strongly encouraging Xi to speak with Zelensky so that they can hear “not just the Russian perspective” on the war.
Moreover, according to Sullivan, Ukraine has not confirmed that Xi called Zelensky.