US President Joe Biden warns China’s Xi Jinping against helping Russia with Ukraine
US President Joe Biden warns China’s Xi Jinping against helping Russia with Ukraine

US President Joe Biden warns China’s Xi Jinping against helping Russia with Ukraine

In the days after Vladimir Putin deployed Russian forces in Ukraine, Xi Jinping’s government tried to distance itself from Russia’s offensive, but avoided the criticism that many other nations have leveled at Moscow.

Washington: Face to face for video, on March 18, 2022, President Joe Biden presented to Chinese President Xi Jinping the harsh consequences the Chinese would face from the United States if they provided military or financial assistance to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Nothing indicated that he received any guarantee in return.

In fact, Xi blamed the US for the crisis and insisted with a Chinese proverb that the next step was up to Biden:

“He who tied the bell to the tiger must take it off,” Xi said, according to a Chinese government statement.

More formally after the almost two-hour conversationChina’s Foreign Ministry lamented “conflict and confrontation” as “not in anyone’s interest”, but attributed no blame to Russia and said nothing about the next steps.

In the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki said: “China itself must make a decision on where they want to stand and how they want the history books to look at them and see their actions.”

She declined to comment on possible consequences, Biden specified to the Chinese president if his country provides support for the Russian invasion.

But a senior administration official who briefed reporters at the leaders’ urging said Biden pointed to the economic isolation Russia has faced – including economic sanctions and large Western companies suspending operations – as he tried to stress the costs. , which China liked.

Xi called on the United States and Russia, which have had limited engagement since the invasion of February 24, 2022, to negotiate. He noted China’s donations of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, while accusing the United States of provoking Russia and fueling the conflict by sending weapons to the combatant country. He also renewed China’s criticism of sanctions imposed on Russia in connection with the invasion, according to state media. As before, Xi did not use the terms war or invasion to describe Russia’s actions.

Prior to the call, Psaki noted Beijing’s “rhetorical support” for Putin and an “absence of condemnation” of Russia’s invasion.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying withdrew, calling the US administration “overbearing” to suggest that China risks falling on the wrong side of history.

The two leaders also discussed the long-running dispute between the United States and China over Taiwan. As a reminder of China’s threat to assert its claim by force, the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong sailed through the Taiwan Strait on March 18, 2022, just hours before the Biden-Xi call. The United States is legally obliged to ensure that the autonomous island democracy can defend itself and treats threats against it with “serious concern”.

Planning for the leaders’ discussion had been underway since Biden and Xi held a virtual summit in November, but disagreements between Washington and Beijing over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s prosecution of his three-week-old war against Ukraine were at the center of talks on 18 March 2022.

Relations between the United States and China, which have long been strained, have only become more strained since the beginning of Biden’s presidency. Biden has repeatedly criticized China for military provocations against Taiwan, human rights violations against ethnic minorities, and efforts to suppress pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong.

But relations may have reached a new low with the Russian invasion.

In the days after Putin deployed Russian forces in Ukraine, Xi’s government tried to distance itself from Russia’s offensive, but avoided the criticism that many other nations have leveled at Moscow. At other times, Beijing’s actions have been provocative, including reinforcing unconfirmed Russian claims that Ukraine operates US-backed chemical and biological weapons laboratories.

Earlier this week, the United States informed Asian and European allies that the US intelligence service had stated that China had signaled to Russia that it would be willing to provide both military support for the campaign in Ukraine and financial support to help avert the impact of The severe sanctions imposed. of the West.

The White House says China has sent mixed messages. There were initial signs that Chinese state-owned banks were withdrawing from funding Russian activities, according to a senior official in the Biden administration, who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal analyzes. But there have also been public comments from Chinese officials, who expressed support for Russia being a strategic partner.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi met in Rome this week for an intense, seven-hour talk on the Russian invasion and other issues.

Ahead of the Rome talks, Sullivan said the United States would not obey China or any other country that helps Russia circumvent the economic shocking sanctions imposed by the United States and other allies in response to the invasion.

Sullivan also said the administration stated that China knew that Putin “planned something” before the invasion of Ukraine, but that the Chinese government “may not have understood the full extent” of what Putin had in mind.

Xi and Putin met in early February, weeks before the invasion, with the Russian leader who traveled to Beijing to start the Winter Olympics. The two leaders issued a 5,000-word statement declaring boundless “friendship.”

Beijing’s leaders want to support Russia, but they also acknowledge how poorly the Russian military action is going, as an overmatched Ukrainian military has offered fierce 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 Beijing was weighing the potential “reputational setback” by being linked to the Russian camp. The Chinese response to Russia’s request for help is still being formulated, the official said.

Although China is considered to be on Russia’s side, China has also reached out to Ukraine, and its ambassador to the country on Monday was quoted as saying: “China is a friendly country for the Ukrainian people. As ambassador, I can responsibly say that China will forever be a good force for Ukraine, both economically and politically. “

“We have seen how much unity the Ukrainian people are and that means its strength,” Fan Xianrong was quoted as saying by Ukraine’s state news service. Ukrinform like telling regional authorities in the western city of Lviv, where the Chinese embassy has moved to.

State media quoted Xi as saying that relations between China and the United States had not yet “emerged from the dilemma created by the former US administration, but instead encountered more and more challenges”, highlighting Taiwan as a special area.

“If the Taiwan issue is not handled properly, it will have an undermining effect on the relationship between the two countries,” Xi reportedly told Biden.

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