The president of United States, Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, spoke by video call this Friday to address the conflict in Ukraine.
Key figures in a war half a world away spoke for nearly two hours on Friday as the White House sought to dissuade Beijing from providing military or economic assistance for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China was the first to issue a readout of the video conversation, deploring “conflict and confrontation” as “in no one’s interest”without blaming Russia.
“Countries must not come to the point of meeting on the battlefield. Conflict and confrontation benefit no one. Peace and security are what the international community should treasure most,” Xi Jinping conveyed to Biden according to the Chinese state media. CGTN America.
The White House did not immediately comment after the call. but he was expected to give details in the early afternoon.
Before the call, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden would question Xi about Beijing’s “rhetorical support” for Putin and the “failure to denounce” the Russian invasion.
He urged the US to work with China to advance bilateral ties on the right track, shoulder due international responsibilities and strive to promote world peace and stability.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying answered and called the US. The administration’s suggestions that China risks falling on the wrong side of history are “arrogant.”
Planning for the leaders’ discussion had been in the works since Biden and Xi held a virtual summit in November.But differences between Washington and Beijing over the prosecution of Russian President Vladimir Putin for his three-week war against Ukraine were expected. call center.
China also tried to highlight on Friday his calls for negotiations and his donations of humanitarian aid, while accused the United States of provoking Russia and fueling the conflict by sending weapons to Ukraine. Xi also renewed China’s criticism of the sanctions imposed on Russia over the invasion, according to Chinese state media. As in the past, Xi did not use the terms war or invasion to describe Russia’s actions.
“As leaders of major countries, we must consider the proper resolution of global hotspot issues, and more importantly, global stability and the production and lives of billions of people,” said.
In an attempt to show international support for China’s position, the state broadcaster CCTV said Xi also discussed Ukraine in phone calls with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, claiming that the leaders’ views were “extremely close.”
The long-tense relationship between the United States and China has only grown more tense since the start of the Biden presidency. Biden has repeatedly criticized China for military provocations against Taiwan, human rights abuses against ethnic minorities and efforts to crush democracy advocates in Hong Kong.
But the relationship may have reached a new low point with the Russian invasion.
In the days after Putin deployed Russian forces to Ukraine, Xi’s government tried to distance itself from Russia’s offensive but avoided criticizing Moscow. At other times, Beijing’s actions have been provocative and have included amplifying unverified Russian claims that Ukraine had US-backed chemical and biological weapons laboratories.
Earlier this week, The US informed its Asian and European allies that US intelligence had determined that China had indicated to Russia that it would be willing to provide both military support for the Ukraine campaign and financial backing. to help avoid the impact of the harsh penalties imposed. by the West
Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated Thursday that the Biden administration remains concerned that China is considering providing military equipment to Russia. He said Biden would make it clear to Xi “that China will bear responsibility for any actions it takes to support Russia’s aggression, and we will not hesitate to impose costs.”
The White House says that China has been sending mixed messages about its support for Russia. There were initial signs that Chinese state-owned banks were pulling back from financing Russian activities, according to a senior Biden administration official who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal analysis. But there have also been public comments from Chinese officials expressing support for Russia being a strategic partner.
The White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan and China’s senior foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi met in Rome earlier this week. for an intense seven-hour conversation on the Russian invasion and beyond.
Before the Rome talks, Sullivan said the US would not allow China or any other country to help Russia get around economic sanctions imposed by the US and other allies since the February 24 invasion.
Sullivan also said the administration determined that China knew Putin “was planning something” before the Ukraine invasion, but that the Chinese government “might not have understood the full scope” of what Putin had in mind.
Xi and Putin met in early February, weeks before the invasion, and the Russian leader traveled to Beijing for the start of the Winter Olympics. During Putin’s visit, the two leaders issued a 5,000-word statement declaring unlimited “friendship.”
Leaders in Beijing would like to support Russia, but they also recognize how bad Russian military action is going, as an outmatched Ukrainian army has put up stiff resistance, according to a Western official familiar with current intelligence assessments.
The official, who was not authorized to comment and spoke on condition of anonymity, said que Beijing is weighing the possible “reputational setback” of being associated with the Russian camp. China’s response to Russia’s request for help “is in the process of being formulated”added the official.
Although it is considered to be on the side of Russia, China has also moved closer to Ukraine., and its ambassador to the country said on Monday: “China is a country friendly to the Ukrainian people. As an ambassador, I can responsibly say that China will always be a good force for Ukraine, both economically and politically.”
“We have seen how great the unity of the Ukrainian people is, and that means their strength,” Fan Xianrong, quoted by Ukraine’s state news service Ukrinform, told regional authorities in the western city of Lviv, where he has moved. the Chinese embassy.
(With information from AP and Reuters)
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