The White House says Biden warned China’s Xi about the consequences if Beijing supports Russia in Ukraine
The White House says Biden warned China’s Xi about the consequences if Beijing supports Russia in Ukraine

The White House says Biden warned China’s Xi about the consequences if Beijing supports Russia in Ukraine

WASHINGTON – President Biden warned Chinese leader Xi Jinping that China and its relations with the United States would suffer consequences if Beijing provided substantial assistance to Russia in its military attack on Ukraine.

During a nearly two-hour video conference Friday centered on the Ukraine crisis, Mr Biden outlined for Mr Xi the United Allied response to Russia, the financial sanctions imposed, the global condemnation of the invasion and the withdrawal of many foreign companies from the Russian market, said a senior US official.

Describing this answer, U.S. officials said, Mr. Biden tried to propose efforts for China.

“President Biden made clear the implications and consequences of China providing material support … to Russia as it prosecutes its brutal war in Ukraine, not only for China’s relations with the United States, but for the wider world,” the official said. The official declined to say whether specific threats were made or to characterize Mr Xi’s response.

China’s official version of the meeting largely sought to present China as a peacemaker and minimized traces of conflict between the leaders over Ukraine. “The crisis in Ukraine is something we do not want to see,” Mr Xi told Mr Biden, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency. “Conflict and confrontation are not in anyone’s interest.”

Mr. Biden also expressed concern that the Chinese government is spreading misinformation by repeating what the United States says are false Russian allegations that the United States supports biological weapons research in Ukraine.

Ukraine – and Mr. Xi’s close partnership with Russian President

Vladimir Putin

-has added friction to a US-China relationship that is already controversial and running out of trust. The Biden administration wants to at least deter Beijing from becoming more deeply involved in Russia, and Friday’s meeting did not offer any overt breakthrough or indication of whether Mr Xi is considering reconsidering relations with Moscow.

Mr. Biden did not make specific requests to Mr. Xi, said U.S. officials. Asked why the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said, “Because China itself has to make a decision about where they want to stand and how they want the history books to look at them and see their actions. And that’s a decision, which President Xi and the Chinese must take. “

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping have become close in the past decade, toasting with vodka and exchanging friendship medals. As the West sanctions Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, China could help, but only to a certain extent. Photo illustration: Sharon Shi

The United States has said Beijing has a responsibility to use its influence with Mr Putin to seek an end to the war. Mr. However, Xi sought to present China as a neutral party to the conflict, and one that could facilitate negotiations to bring it to an end.

In China’s official version of the meeting, Mr Xi called on Mr Biden to work with China to “not only lead the development of China – US relations on the right track, but also take on our due international responsibilities and make an effort. for world peace. ”

Beijing has so far refused to criticize Russia or even to describe its actions in Ukraine as an invasion expressing sympathy with the security concerns Moscow has cited as one of the causes of the military attack. In addition, China has criticized the severe economic sanctions that the United States and its allies have imposed on Russia.

After being taken by surprise in the early days of Russia’s attack, Beijing, according to foreign policy experts close to the Chinese government, has now settled on a clearer strategy: It will not oppose Russia, and it will support Ukraine – what in China is described as “benevolent neutrality.”

The position reflects Mr Xi’s efforts to maintain its strategic focus makes common cause with Russia to undermine the US-led West while still trying to present China as a responsible world leader.

Without more material action, however, it is unlikely that Beijing’s position will satisfy the Biden administration, international affairs said, and stop the deterioration in relations between China and the United States.

“Xi does not want to alienate Moscow, but he also does not want US-China relations to collapse, especially as the West is far more important to the faltering Chinese economy than Russia,” said Neil Thomas, an analyst at Eurasia Group. risk consulting firm. “Whether Xi can navigate between Biden and Putin is a huge test of his leadership.”

Relations with the United States have plummeted across recent lines across the board due to a growing set of issues, from a trade war and competition to dominate critical technologies to China’s repression of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang, as well as protracted hotspots .ex. Taiwan. With the bilateral relationship fraught with problems, Beijing sees little interest in helping the United States with Russia, according to foreign policy experts close to the Chinese government.

The Chinese version of Friday’s meeting said Mr Biden reiterated earlier promises he had made to Mr Xi that the United States would not seek to change China’s system, oppose China by strengthening its alliances or support Taiwan’s independence. “I take your remarks very seriously,” Mr Xi told Mr Biden, according to Xinhua.

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Then the Chinese leader sought to shift the blame for the deteriorating relationship onto “some people in the United States” who “did not implement the important consensus” between Mr Xi and Biden. This comment reflects Beijing’s dissatisfaction with leaks from the Biden administration in recent days, claiming that China was open to providing military assistance to Russia for its war against Ukraine.

“The United States has misunderstood and misjudged China’s strategic intentions,” he said. Xi.

China has rejected U.S. claims that Russia has sought their help, either by providing military equipment or financial assistance. The White House has refused to elaborate on those allegations. By announcing possible transfers of weapons or other assistance, the White House hopes to create awareness, making it harder for China to provide any kind of assistance.

Sir. Xi also reiterated Chinese concerns over Taiwan, a US partner and democratically controlled island, which Beijing says it ultimately intends to absorb, by force if necessary. The Biden administration has continued arms sales to Taiwan and sent a delegation there Russia launched the invasion of Ukraine.

As part of the sparring around Taiwan, a Chinese aircraft carrier and a destroyer from the U.S. Navy sailed through the Taiwan Strait in a few separate, sensitive maneuvers Thursday and Friday.

Mr. Biden during the call “reiterated that U.S. policy toward Taiwan has not changed, and stressed that the United States continues to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo,” the White House said.

Write to Alex Leary at [email protected] and Lingling Wei at [email protected]

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