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“ Beijing will view this as part of the Biden administration’s effort to build coalitions to hem China in and contain its rising power.
“ It may be politically risky for Xi to engage with President Biden without certainty that he can get something from Biden. He may calculate that it is safer to only have interactions in this period at lower levels. But there is also the Covid factor, and we don’t know how much weight to attach to that.
“ My understanding from people in the administration - having talked to allies and partners who have an interest in peace and security in the Indo-Pacific - is that there was nothing negative. There is support in the region for deterrence and for having U.S. presence and military presence in the region.
“ There is a shared understanding that we need to strengthen deterrence and actually be prepared to fight a conflict if one occurs. It reflects growing concern about Chinese military capabilities and intentions.
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