Biden warns China's Xi that he won't aid Russia's invasion

Video conference with President Joe Biden, the Chinese President Xi Jinping laid out Friday's harsh consequences for the U.S. if the Chinese provide military or economic aid to Russia's invasion in Ukraine.

Biden warns China's Xi that he won't aid Russia's invasion

It was not clear that he received any assurances in return.

Xi actually blamed the U.S. and insists with a Chinese proverb, that Biden was the next to move.

According to a Chinese government report, Xi stated that "he who tied the bell to tiger must remove it."

Formally, China's Foreign Ministry expressed regret at "conflict" and "confrontation" after the almost two-hour conversation. However, it did not blame Russia and offered no suggestions for next steps.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, stated that China must decide for itself where it wants to stand and how the history books should view them.

She refused to discuss the possible consequences Biden could have for the Chinese president if he supports the Russian invasion.

A senior administration official briefed reporters after the leaders' call and said that Biden had pointed out the economic isolation Russia has experienced, including major Western corporations suspending operations and economy-battering sanctions. This was to emphasize the potential costs China may face.

Xi urged Russia and the U.S. to engage in negotiations, despite their limited engagement since the February 24 invasion. While he acknowledged the humanitarian assistance provided by China to Ukraine, Xi accused the U.S. and Russia of inciting conflict and shipping arms to the troubled country. According to State media, he also reiterated China's condemnation of the sanctions imposed upon Russia for its invasion. Xi didn't use the terms invasion or war to describe Russia’s actions, as he did in the past.

Psaki mentioned Beijing's "rhetorical support for Putin" and "absence of denunciation of Russia's invasion" before the call.

Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, retorted by calling the U.S. administration "overbearing" because it suggested that China might fall on the wrong side.

They also discussed the more serious U.S.-China dispute regarding Taiwan. The Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, a Chinese aircraft carrier, sailed through Taiwan Strait on Friday to remind China of its threat to claim Taiwan by force. This was just hours before Biden-Xi called. The U.S. legally has the obligation to defend an island democracy that is self-governing and treat threats to it with "grave concern."

The leaders' discussion was planned since Biden and Xi held a virtual Summit in November,. However, Washington and Beijing had differences over Russian President Vladimir Putin's prosecution for his three-week-old war with Ukraine.

The relationship between the U.S. and China has been strained for a long time, and it has become even more so since Biden took office. Biden has repeatedly criticised China for its military provocations against Taiwan and human rights violations against ethnic minorities, as well as efforts to suppress pro-democracy advocates from Hong Kong.

The Russian invasion may have brought about a new low in the relationship.

Xi tried to distance himself from Russia's offensive in Ukraine but avoided the harsh criticisms that many countries have made of Moscow. Other times, Beijing's provocative actions include amplifying unverified Russian claims Ukraine had chemical and biological weapons laboratories with U.S. assistance.

The U.S. informed European and Asian allies earlier this week that American intelligence had concluded that China had indicated to Russia that it was willing to provide both military and financial support to Ukraine's campaign.

According to the White House, China has been sending mixed signals. According to a senior Biden administration official, there were first signs that Chinese state-owned bank were withdrawing from funding Russian activities. He insisted on anonymity to discuss internal analysis. However, there were also comments from Chinese officials that supported Russia as a strategic partner.

Jake Sullivan, White House National Security Advisor, and Yang Jiechi, Senior Chinese Foreign Policy Advisor, met in Rome this week to have a seven-hour discussion about Russia's invasion and other topics.

Sullivan stated that the U.S. would not tolerate China or any other country aiding Russia to overcome the economic-jarring sanctions imposed by the U.S. as a response to the invasion.

Sullivan said that the administration believed China knew Putin was planning something before the invasion of Ukraine. However, the Chinese government may not have fully understood what Putin meant.

Xi and Putin met early February, several weeks before the invasion. The Russian leader was traveling to Beijing to begin the Winter Olympics. They issued a statement of 5,000 words declaring their "unending friendship."

Beijing's leaders want to support Russia but recognize the dire state of Russia's military actions. A Western official who is familiar with intelligence assessments says that they are also aware of how strong resistance has been put up by the Ukrainian military.

According to the official, who was not authorized for comment and spoke under anonymity, Beijing is considering the possible "reputational backlash" associated with the Russian camp. According to the official, China is still formulating its response to Russia's request.

Although China is often seen as siding with Russia but it has also extended its hand to Ukraine with its ambassador saying Monday: "China's friendly country for the Ukrainian people." As an ambassador, it is my responsibility to say that China will always be a positive force for Ukraine both politically and economically.

"We have seen the strength and unity of the Ukrainian people," Fan Xianrong was quoted as saying by Ukrinform, the state news agency of Ukraine. He spoke to regional authorities in Lviv, the westernmost city, about the Chinese Embassy's relocation.

Xi was quoted by state media as saying that China-U.S. relations have yet to "emerge out of the dilemma created under the previous U.S. administration but instead faced more and more difficulties," focusing on Taiwan in particular.

Biden was reportedly informed by Xi that Taiwan's issue must be handled correctly.


 

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