Jake Sullivan Asserts Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping To Confer Soon
June 18, 2021 (EIRNS)—U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was emphatic at his June 17 phone briefing with reporters that Biden would follow up on his summit with Vladimir Putin, with a discussion with China’s Xi Jinping. Sullivan responded to a question regarding a “bilateral discussion with President Xi,” saying:
“The notion that President Biden will engage in the coming month with President Xi in some way to take stock of where we are in the relationship and to ensure that we have that kind of direct communication that we found valuable with President Putin yesterday, we’re very much committed to that. It’s now just a question of when and how.”
The bulk of his opening remarks involved reporting how successful Biden had been on his European trip, basically, that he’s taken leadership of the West with his B3W—Build Back Better World, “a new infrastructure initiative ... that will be a high-standards, transparent, climate-friendly alternative to the Belt Road Initiative.
“We had NATO tackling China in its communiqué for the first time, truly taking the security challenge posed by China seriously.... And, in fact, the G7 spoke to this issue of coordination and alignment on standing up to countering and pushing back on China’s non-market economic practices as part of a broader economic competition,”
he boasted. With no irony intended, he gave the example of the “agreement to end a 16-year-long dispute between Airbus and Boeing ... an explicit alignment on the U.S. and the EU working together on inbound and outbound investment related to China’s large passenger aircraft industry ... against China’s predatory practices.”
Sullivan described how “we feel like we have emerged from this trip with a common strategy with our allies, and as well as having laid down some clear markers with Russia, some clear expectations, and also communicated to them the capacities that we have, should they choose not to take action against criminals who are attacking our critical infrastructure from Russian soil.
“Cyber also relates to this broader effort at standing up a strategic stability dialogue that will address arms control, but also touch on issues related to both cyber and space as we move forward.” Among the first questions, the media asked, was “now that you had the G7 meeting, aligning, clearing the decks, meeting with Putin, if that now means you can go on to a bilateral discussion with President Xi and how you’re taking that on.”
Sullivan then elaborated:
“[W]hat the President said, about there being no substitute for leader-level dialogue as a central part of why he held the summit with Putin yesterday, also applies to China and to President Xi Jinping. He will look for opportunities to engage with President Xi going forward. We don’t have any particular plans at the moment, but I would note that both leaders are likely to be at the G20 in Italy in October.... But soon enough, we will sit down to work out the right modality for the two Presidents to engage. Now, it could be a phone call; it could be a meeting on the margins of ... another international summit; it could be something else.”
At a follow-up press conference on June 17 with the State Department’s Ned Price, South China Morning Post North America bureau chief Robert Delaney referred to Sullivan’s announcement and brought up the previous roadblocks (Xinjiang, the Wuhan lab, and such). Price reiterated “that the President has put forward that there is no substitute for personal diplomacy. And he was making the point that that is not unique to the relationship... then reaffirmed “we will continue that principled engagement.”