Nov 12, 2022 - World

President Biden counters China days ahead of meeting Xi Jinping

President Joe Biden (L) and Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen shake hands as they attend the East Asia Summit Gala dinner in Phnom Penh, on November 12, 2022.

President Biden and Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen shake hands at the East Asia Summit Gala. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden arrived in Cambodia Saturday and pledged his support for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries in what has been seen as a counter to China.

Why it matters: Biden's visit comes days ahead of his important meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The president is presenting the United States as a friendly and calm ally for the region as China's influence grows and North Korea unnerves nearby leaders.

Driving the news: Biden said Saturday that the U.S. will continue to support ASEAN countries moving forward through the US-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

  • “Together, we will tackle the biggest issues of our time, from climate to health security, defend against the significant threats to rule-based order and to threats to the rule of law,” Biden said at the ASEAN summit, according to a copy of remarks sent to Axios.
  • “We'll also discuss Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and our efforts to address the war’s global impacts including in Southeast Asia,” Biden added. 

Zoom in: Biden also met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, saying in remarks before the meeting that the two had a "long agenda" ahead of them.

  • The president is expected to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Sunday.

The big picture: The visit to Cambodia comes as Biden is preparing to hold his first in-person meeting as president with China's President Xi on Monday, Axios' Dave Lawler reports.

  • The White House expects Biden to speak about Taiwan, the North Korean missile launches, war in Ukraine and climate change, among other issues.
  • Biden may also bring up China's "human rights violations" and "harmful economic practices," a senior administration official tells Axios.

Go deeper: Biden to raise Taiwan during Monday's in-person meeting with Xi at G20

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