Biden will push China to resume military ties with US, official says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden wants to re-establish military-to-military ties with China, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday, days before the president and the Chinese leader are set to meet.

Biden will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in person for the first time in a year on Wednesday during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco. It will be only the second in-person meeting between the two leaders since Biden took office in January 2021.

“The president is determined to see the re-establishment of military-to-military ties because he believes it’s in the U.S. national security interest,” Sullivan said in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We need those lines of communication so that there aren’t mistakes or miscalculations or miscommunication.”

Sullivan said restored military ties could take place at every level from senior leadership to the tactical operational level, as well “on the water and in the air in the Indo-Pacific.”

Sullivan said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Biden would seek to “advance the ball” on military ties during his meeting with Xi, but declined to provide further details.

“The Chinese have basically severed those communication links. President Biden would like to re-establish that,” Sullivan said. “This is a top agenda item.”

The Biden-Xi meeting is expected to cover global issues from the Israel-Hamas war to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea’s ties with Russia, Taiwan, the Indo-Pacific, human rights, fentanyl production, artificial intelligence, as well as “fair” trade and economic relations, a senior U.S. official said.

Relations between the two countries grew frosty after Biden ordered the shooting down in February of a suspected Chinese spy balloon that flew over the United States. But top Biden administration officials have since visited Beijing and met with their counterparts to rebuild communications and trust.

(Reporting by Katharine Jackson, Arshad Mohammed and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Scott Malone and Grant McCool)