U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday met Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and discussed their security pact and issues surrounding the Taiwan Strait, the White House said.
The AUKUS security pact between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia is seen as an effort by the West to push back against the Chinese regime’s growing aggression, particularly its military buildup, pressure on Taiwan, and deployments in the contested South China Sea.
The heart of the AUKUS agreement is a plan to provide Australia with the technology and capability to deploy conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines.
The two leaders met on the margins of the East Asia Summit in Cambodia and also discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the White House said in a statement.
“The leaders recognized the imperative of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the White House said.
The Chinese communist regime staged war games in August after U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, and has since continued military activities nearby including almost daily fighter jet crossings of the sensitive median line in the narrow Taiwan Strait.
Relations between the China and the U.S. have strained in recent years over issues like tariffs, Taiwan, intellectual property, cyber security, the removal of Hong Kong’s autonomy, and the origins of the coronavirus outbreak, among others.
Australia’s ties with China have also deteriorated, with the Chinese regime putting sanctions on some Australian imports and reacting angrily to Canberra’s call for an international inquiry into the origins of COVID-19.
Albanese also spoke briefly with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Cambodia on Sunday, amid anticipation of a formal summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Biden told Asian leaders on Sunday that U.S. communication lines with China would stay open to prevent conflict, saying that the United States would “compete vigorously” with Beijing while “ensuring competition does not veer into conflict.”