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Biden, Philippines’ Marcos discuss tensions in South China Sea on sidelines of UNGA

US President Joe Biden on Thursday met with Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos in their first face-to-face talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Biden underscored his support for freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, in response to China’s efforts to exert military influence in the region. The two counterparts reflected on the importance of the US-Philippines alliance and bilateral relations. 

President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad commitment to the defence of the Philippines, the White House said in its readout of the meeting. The leaders discussed the situation in the South China Sea and underscored their support for freedom of navigation and overflight and the peaceful resolution of disputes. Biden emphasized the opportunities to expand bilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues, including energy security, climate action, and infrastructure. He also held talks about Russia’s war against Ukraine and its implications for energy prices and food security. The two counterparts also discussed the ASEAN matters, the crisis in Burma, and the importance of respect for human rights. 

Biden faces wrath for ‘failing’ to address China’s human rights abuses at UNGA

The East Turkistan Government-in-Exile, which is based in Washington, at UNGA, came down heavily on US President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “for failing” to appropriately address the problems faced by the minority communities in China’s Xinjiang region. It claimed that both leaders did not care to address the persistent issue at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. The remarks came after Biden addressed the UNGA on Wednesday, outlining numerous pressing global challenges. 

“Today, in 2022, fundamental freedoms are at risk in every part of our world, from the violations in Xinjiang detailed in recent reports by the Office of the UN High Commissioner,” Biden stated while highlighting the issue of human rights. According to Salih Hudayar, Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile, Biden’s speech at the UNGA was “below par.” Hudayar further stated that the US President did not make enough efforts to categorically expose and denounce China’s ongoing genocide against Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, Kazakhs, and other Turkic people in the Xinjiang region. 

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