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Biden says ‘confident’ China ‘not looking’ for North Korea to escalate

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China does not want to see North Korea “engage in further escalation” after a spate of recent missile tests, US President Joe Biden said after talks with his Chinese counterpart.

“I’m confident China’s not looking for North Korea to engage in further escalation,” Biden said after talks with Xi Jinping in Bali, Indonesia.

He warned more provocation from Pyongyang risked Washington building up its own regional capacities — something Beijing bitterly opposes.

The US leader said he told Xi that Beijing had an obligation to make it clear to Pyongyang that it should not conduct a nuclear test.

“I made it clear as well that if they did (conduct a test)… we would have to take certain actions that would be more defensive on our behalf,” Biden said.

“We will do what it needs to defend our capacity, to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea, as well as Japan,” he said.

The US leader was pushing China to use its influence to rein in North Korea after the wave of missile tests raised fears the reclusive regime will soon carry out its seventh nuclear test.

China, Pyongyang’s main diplomatic and economic ally, joined Russia in May in vetoing a US-led bid at the UN Security Council to tighten sanctions on North Korea.

Washington has responded to North Korea’s sanction-busting missile tests by extending exercises with South Korea and deploying a strategic bomber.

Biden said the US would build up further regional capacities if North Korean tests continued.

“They would not be directed against China but it would be to send a clear message to North Korea,” he said.

Earlier this year, Biden said he would not exclude a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un if he were “sincere” but said any such talks with the unpredictable dictator would be unlikely.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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