U.S. President Joe Biden explained to Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Friday the “consequences” of any protections given to Russia in the war against Ukraine.
The comments came in a nearly two-hour phone call between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies, which touched on relations between Ukraine, Taiwan and each other.
Biden said the White House said in a statement that “if China provides material support to Russia, it will carry out savage attacks on Ukrainian cities and civilians.”
The White House would not characterize Xi’s response to the warning.
China’s state-run CCTV television reported that Xik said the war “was not in anyone’s interest” and that “state-state relations cannot go to the stage of military enemies.”
However, there was no direct criticism of the Kremlin, and Xik said in a reading by the Chinese Foreign Ministry that “all sides” should contribute to the “dialogue” between Russia and Ukraine.
Xik also blamed Russia for invading its neighbor in the West. stated the ministry.
The Chinese leader has consistently refused to condemn his authoritarian ally, President Vladimir Putin.
Now, Washington fears that Beijing could go so far as to offer financial and military aid to Russia, turning the already explosive Atlantic stoppage into a global conflict.
If that happened, not only would China help Russia face sanctions and continue the war, but Western governments would face a painful decision on how to attack the world’s second-largest economy, likely to cause confusion in international markets.
Washington is running to stave off the crisis, both by warning of China’s downfall and by calling for Xi’s intentions to become a player in the world.
China “should understand that its future lies with the United States, Europe, other developed and developing countries around the world. Their future is not to be with Vladimir Putin,” Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman told CNN.
Secretary of State Antony Blink had earlier called on China to use its “lever” in Moscow.
– China “balances competing priorities” –
Biden-Xi’s call – the first since November – came after U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chinese Communist Party chief diplomat Yang Jiechi came to the White House after a seven-hour “important” meeting this week. .
Behind the intense tensions over Taiwan and the US-China trade dispute, Biden and Xi’s abilities or failures will have a profound understanding of the unfolding development in Europe.
Xi and Putin symbolically sealed their close cooperation when they met last month at the Beijing Winter Olympics before Putin launched an attack on Ukraine.
Since then, Beijing has stood out for refusing to join the international call for an invasion, and has taken the Russian line, blaming the United States and NATO. Chinese authorities refuse to refer to the invasion as a “war”, once again joining the Kremlin.
But China has also tried to be somewhat ambiguous in its claim to Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Ryan Hass, a member of the Brookings Institution, a former adviser to President Barack Obama on China, said Beijing needs to sort out its conflicting priorities.
Despite being comfortable with Moscow, China, the world’s largest exporter, is closely linked to the United States and other Western economies. He also wants to be a world leader.
“The interests of China and Russia do not coincide. Putin is a pyromaniac of the international system and President Xi sees himself as an architect for the regeneration and improvement of the international system,” Hass said.
“President Xi is trying to balance competing priorities. He really values China’s cooperation with Russia, but at the same time he does not want to undermine China’s Western relations.”
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a union feed.)