US, Chinese and Russian officials gather at Southeast Asia summit
US Vice President Kamala Harris, Chinese premier Li Qiang and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov attended an East Asia summit in Indonesia on Thursday, offering an opportunity for direct, high-level diplomacy between the rivals.
The meeting brought Washington and Beijing into contact a day after Premier Li Qiang warned major powers must manage their differences to avoid a "new Cold War", ahead of the G20 summit in New Delhi this week where Chinese President Xi Jinping will be absent.
Interactions between the officials from the world's top two economies will be closely watched as they seek to control tensions that risk flaring anew over issues ranging from Taiwan to ties with Moscow and the competition for influence in the Pacific.
"I ask... the leaders of East Asia Summit, to make this a forum for us to strengthen cooperation and not sharpen rivalries," Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in opening remarks.
Harris and Li held their own separate talks with Southeast Asian leaders on Wednesday, where the US second-in-command discussed "upholding international law in the South China Sea", a statement from her office said, the disputed waterway where Chinese claims have angered several Southeast Asian nations.
Thursday's 18-nation summit is the first time top US and Russian officials have sat around the same table in almost two months, after US and European officials condemned Lavrov at a July ministerial meeting over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
It comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $1 billion in new assistance to Ukraine in a surprise visit to Kiev on Wednesday.
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