The US has made it clear to China that it would safeguard the interests of 'friend' Australia in the Indo-Pacific Region. During his recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, US President Joe Biden raised Beijing's wave of trade strikes against Australia, saying that Washington would never allow the Asian Giant to drive Canberra "to its knees" and to create troubles for the Australian Economy.
Speaking at a Lowy Institute event, President Biden's top adviser (on Asia) Kurt Campbell has said that the two leaders held talks in November to discuss various important bilateral and global issues. During their meeting, the US President told his Chinese counterpart that he was not at all happy with Beijing's decision to impose more than USD 20 billion of trade strikes on Australian exports. He also said that China should cooperate with the global community on other important issues. Else, Beijing would isolate itself. He, once again, urged President Xi to allow the foreign agencies to conduct an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19.
According to Campbell, the US president "briefly mentioned activities that China was undertaking that President Biden felt were antithetical to China's interests". The adviser stressed: "So, President Biden was very clear and animated about what we had seen in Australia, border issues with India, all the things that I've mentioned, and just basically said, we were concerned. We're concerned by some of these steps and what it signals with respect to China."
As the US President was fully prepared to confront his Chinese counterpart about Beijing's economic coercion, he raised the issue of Australia, stating that the Asian Powerhouse was not working as effectively as in the past. According to President Biden, China should reengage with Australia "on Australian terms". Campbell told the audience: "I don't believe that's going to be the way it's going to play out. I believe that China will engage because it is in its own interest to have a good relationship with Australia."
Meanwhile, the US president's adviser has revealed that the US would send more submarines to Australia, and the Australian Navy personnel would serve on US ships as a part of bilateral defense cooperation. The two countries have also planned to build nuclear-powered fleet under the AUKUS defense pact. It may be noted that Australia, Britain and the US signed the AUKUS agreement for developing a fleet of nuclear submarines. Earlier, Washington DC assured Canberra that the US Navy would help Australian forces to protect their country's sovereignty through strategic partnership.
President Biden also informed his Chinese counterpart that the US was worried about the current political crisis in Taiwan. He told President Xi that both Australia and the US would defend the island's sovereignty at any cost, saying that China should not use military power against Taiwan. He stressed that there was no change in the US policy regarding Taiwan, as it "forms the basis of our overall approach in preserving of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait".
Experts are of the opinion that President Biden's clear and strong message to the Chinese leader would have a great impact on bilateral relations. Perhaps, it would prompt Beijing to soften its aggressive foreign policy.