The Korea Herald


Biden stresses 'enduring' US commitment to Korean Peninsula denuclearization to Xi: White House

By Yonhap

Published : April 3, 2024 - 09:25

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US President Joe Biden speaks with the President of the Peoples Republic of China Xi Jinping virtually in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on November 15, 2021. (Getty Images) US President Joe Biden speaks with the President of the Peoples Republic of China Xi Jinping virtually in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on November 15, 2021. (Getty Images)

President Joe Biden underscored the United States' "enduring" commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula during phone talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, the White House said.

The call came amid growing concerns over North Korea's continued saber-rattling, including its missile launch this week, and a potential erosion of the sanctions regime against the North due to Russia's veto last week of a resolution to extend the mandate of a UN panel monitoring sanctions enforcement.

The leaders' engagement followed their in-person summit in California in November, where they agreed on the resumption of bilateral military communications and other areas of cooperation in a display of their desire to stably manage the great-power relationship despite a hardening rivalry over security, technology and trade.

"(Biden) emphasized the United States' enduring commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," the White House said in a readout on the call, which it portrayed as "candid and constructive."

On the eve of the leaders' talks, a senior US official told reporters that Biden planned to discuss with Xi efforts to advance the denuclearization of the peninsula, as the official highlighted rising concerns about Pyongyang's provocative moves.

"(There is) certainly growing concern about the DPRK's provocations and the risks of its growing economic, military, technological partnership with Russia," the official said. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"We certainly continue to underscore those concerns to China while also reiterating our readiness to conduct diplomacy with North Korea and our determination to take steps to deter further provocations by the DPRK."

Concerns have persisted that the intensifying competition between the two superpowers could shrink room for tighter cooperation on North Korea-related issues, particularly at a time of North Korea's burgeoning military cooperation with Russia, which boasts its "no-limits" partnership with Beijing.

Those concerns deepened last week when Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to extend the mandate of the expert panel, which is set to expire on April 30 absent its passage. China abstained in the vote -- a move that cast a pall over the future of international cooperation on sanctions enforcement.

In Tuesday's call, Biden also emphasized "the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the rule of law and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea," while raising concerns over China's support for Russia's defense industrial base, according to the White House.

In addition, Biden raised concerns about what the US termed China's unfair trade policies and non-market economic practices.

"The president emphasized that the United States will continue to take necessary actions to prevent advanced US technologies from being used to undermine our national security, without unduly limiting trade and investment," it said.

Biden and Xi welcomed ongoing efforts to maintain open channels of communication and responsibly manage the relationship through high-level diplomacy and other consultations in the weeks and months ahead, including during upcoming visits to China by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

During their call, the two sides also reviewed and encouraged progress from their California summit, including counternarcotics cooperation, ongoing military-to-military communication, talks to address AI-related risks, and continuing efforts on climate change, the White House said.

In Monday's pre-summit briefing, the senior US official stressed, "Intense competition requires intense diplomacy to manage tensions, address misperception and prevent unintended conflict. This call is one way to do that."

The official also underlined the US' unchanged approach to China based on its framework of "invest, align and compete." The approach refers to Washington's strategy to make investments to reinforce its strength, and pursue alignment with allies and partners in its increasingly intense competition with China. (Yonhap)