Obama, Xi to discuss South China Sea tensions on sidelines of nuclear summit

China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama will meet on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit where world leaders will gather at the summit to be held in Washington on March 31. The two leaders are likely to focus on the geopolitical tensions in South China Sea during the meeting. “Mr Obama and Mr Xi will discuss ways to advance US-China cooperation on a range of issues of mutual interest and address areas of disagreement constructively,” according to a statement by the White House. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also scheduled to meet Mr Obama during the summit.

“It will be the first meeting between the two heads of state this year. It will be of great significance in advancing the bilateral relationship in a sustained and stable way,” China’s Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong said. At a time when the geopolitical tensions in Asia-Pacific have been increasing, the meeting between the two leaders will focus on easing tensions in the region.

The meeting between Mr Obama and Mr Xi will provide an opportunity for the two leaders to discuss issues over the South China Sea, where the US is challenging China’s claims. The US has also sent its naval ships and aircraft to the disputed region. The growing friction between the two countries due to the geopolitical scenario in the South China Sea has raised many questions on whether the two countries will work towards finding a solution or continue to intensify the tensions through their actions.

China has been building naval bases in the disputed islands which has led to the international community strongly condemning Beijing’s approach in the disputed region. China has been asked to ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, and resolve the dispute amicably under the purview of international law.


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