WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden held a nearly two-hour phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday morning to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The call was seen as a critical test of whether Biden can convince China to stay on the sidelines of the conflict in Ukraine and decline Russian requests for military or economic aid.

According to an initial read of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s appeal, Xi told Biden that the United States and China each had an obligation to promote peace.

The White House has yet to formally read the call, but said it started just after 9:00 am and lasted just under two hours. That’s an unusually long time for a presidential meeting with the leader of an American adversary.

Pentagon officials last week said Moscow has asked Beijing for military and economic aid to wage its war against Ukraine, and initial intelligence reports suggested China had agreed.

Chinese readings from Xi’s conversation with Biden were not clear if US President had changed Xi’s thinking about Russia in any way.

Nevertheless, a longer Chinese readout of the call released Friday afternoon suggested Biden and Xi were interacting more productively than many analysts had expected, given the long track record of frosty rhetoric between the Biden administration and Beijing.

Xi and Biden “share the view that China and the US should respect each other, coexist in peace and avoid confrontation, and that the two sides should improve communication and dialogue at all levels and in all areas,” said Xi and Biden. the second reading.

As for Ukraine, Beijing said its urgent priority was “to keep dialogue and negotiations going, avoid civilian casualties, avert a humanitarian crisis and end hostilities as soon as possible”.

“The world is neither peaceful nor calm,” Xi reportedly told Biden, and “the crisis in Ukraine is not something we want to see.”

As permanent members of the UN Security Council and the world’s two largest economies, China and the United States, “not only must we direct the development of relations between China and the United States, but also assume our international responsibility and strive for world peace and tranquility,” Xi told Biden, according to the State Department.

Overall, both Biden and Xi agreed that the call had been “constructive” and “ordered their teams to immediately follow up and take concrete actions to get China-US relations back on track.” of steady development, and make respective efforts for the right solution of the crisis in Ukraine,” Beijing said.

China is “ready to provide further humanitarian aid to Ukraine and other affected countries,” Beijing said, referring to “a six-point initiative on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine”.

Beijing gave no details on what the humanitarian plan would entail. But the very fact that China will provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine is a strong sign that its rock-solid alliance with Moscow is under strain.

Spokespersons for both the Russian and Chinese governments publicly deny that Russia has contacted China for help in waging its war against Ukraine.

But unprecedented economic sanctions imposed on Russia by NATO members and G-7 countries in response to the invasion have left Russia isolated and, some analysts say, desperate for financial aid and military supplies.

Defense officials said Beijing appeared open to supplying military supplies to Russia, but there is little evidence so far that China will openly help Moscow evade economic sanctions.

Beijing has little interest in getting involved in the economic struggle between Russia and the rest of the developed world.

“China is not a party to the crisis and does not want sanctions to hit China,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday during a telephone conversation with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares.

This is a story in development, check back for updates.

This post China Says Xi – Biden Call Focuses On Need For Peace In Ukraine

was original published at “https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/18/china-says-xi-biden-call-focused-on-the-need-for-peace-in-ukraine.html”