White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would question Xi about Beijing’s “rhetorical support” for Putin.
President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping will speak on Friday, as the White House warns Beijing that providing military or economic aid to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have dire consequences from Washington and beyond.
The schedule for the call has been in the works since Biden and Xi held a virtual summit in November, but disagreements between Washington and Beijing over the prosecution of Russian President Vladimir Putin over his three-week-old war against Ukraine are expected to settle in the near future. be the center of attention. the call.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would question Xi about Beijing’s “rhetorical support” for Putin and an “absence of condemnation” of Russia’s brutal invasion of Russia.
“This is an opportunity to assess where President Xi stands,” Psaki said.
China tried again on Friday to draw attention to its calls for negotiations and donations of humanitarian aid, while accusing the US of provoking Russia and fueling the conflict by sending weapons to Ukraine.
“China has called for every effort to avoid civilian casualties,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the foreign ministry, told reporters at a daily briefing. “What more do the citizens of Ukraine need; food and sleeping bags or machine guns and artillery? It’s easy to answer.” The long fraught relationship between the US and China has only grown tense since the beginning of Biden’s presidency. Biden has repeatedly criticized China for military provocations against Taiwan, human rights violations against ethnic minorities and attempts to crush democracy advocates in Hong Kong.
But the relationship may have hit a new low with the Russian invasion.
In the days after Putin deployed Russian troops to Ukraine, Xi’s government tried to distance itself from the Russian offensive but avoided criticizing Moscow.
At other times, Beijing’s actions have been provocative and have included bolstering unverified Russian claims that Ukraine had US-backed chemical and biological weapons labs.
Earlier this week, US Asian and European allies informed US intelligence that China had signaled to Russia that it would be willing to provide military support to the campaign in Ukraine as well as financial support to help mitigate the impact of harsh sanctions. prevent. by the West.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on Thursday that the Biden administration remains concerned that China is considering supplying military equipment to Russia.
He said Biden would make it clear to Xi “that China will bear responsibility for all actions it takes to support Russia’s aggression, and we will not hesitate to impose charges.” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and China’s senior foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi met in Rome earlier this week for an intensive seven-hour talk on the Russian invasion and other matters.
Ahead of the Rome talks, Sullivan said the US would not abide by China or any other country helping Russia evade economic sanctions imposed by the US and other allies since the February 24 invasion.
Sullivan also said the government determined that China knew that Putin was “up to 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, when 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 boundless “friendship.” Beijing’s leadership would like to support Russia, but also acknowledge how poorly Russia’s military action is going, as an oversized Ukrainian army has resisted fiercely, 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 is weighing the potential “reputation backlash” for being associated with the Russian camp. The Chinese response to Russia’s request for assistance “is currently being formulated,” the official added.
While China is siding with Russia, it has also reached out to Ukraine, with its ambassador to the country saying on Monday: “China is a friendly country to the Ukrainian people. As an ambassador, I can responsibly say that China will forever 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 its strength,” Fan Xianrong told regional authorities in the western city of Lviv, where the Chinese embassy has moved, through Ukraine’s state news service Ukrinform.
Despite tensions in US-China relations, Biden and Xi have tried to keep dialogue between leaders open and have grown familiar with each other through their political emergence.
Biden and Xi first met while traveling through the US and China when both were vice presidents, interactions that both leaders say have left a lasting impression.
Friday’s phone call will be the fourth conversation between the two leaders since Biden became president.
This post Russia-Ukraine War: Joe Biden Wants to Assess Where China’s Xi Stands was original published at “https://www.financialexpress.com/world-news/russia-ukraine-war-joe-biden-looks-to-assess-where-chinas-xi-stands/2464836/”