East Asia Summit has been cast by the US as a potential flashpoint

A series of “troubles” between China and the US has cast a shadow over an East Asia Summit slated for this week.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will lead a group of Asian leaders at a summit meeting to discuss “human security,” “development connectivity” and “peacekeeping,” an event that human rights activists are holding up as a “good opportunity to hold China accountable.”

On Sunday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accused the U.S. of creating “hotbeds of discord” in the region, according to state media.

“The timing of the meeting is highly inappropriate as China has been presenting a constructive approach to promote regional peace and prosperity. It is deplorable that the U.S. side uses petty politics to create hotspots in the region for the ulterior purpose of putting on a show of setting a bad example,” he said.

Ministry officials said China will not raise “excessive expectations” about improving ties.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson denied the “hotbeds of discord” comments, describing this week’s meeting as a chance to “develop a framework to build an inclusive model of security and prosperity for Asia-Pacific.”

There have been press reports in the U.S. media that a closed door discussion between Biden and representatives from countries in East Asia, including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, aimed at defusing tensions over the South China Sea will take place later this week.

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