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China and US should share global responsibilities, Xi Jinping told Joe Biden about Ukraine

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. (File)


Chinese leader Xi Jinping said the war was “not in anyone’s interest” in a phone call with Joe Biden on Friday, urging U.S. President to pressure Beijing to join Russia in condemning the invasion of Ukraine.

State CCTV spokesman Xi reported that “inter-state relations cannot go to the stage of military enemies.”

Xi said China and the United States should “assume international responsibilities” and that “peace and security are the most cherished treasures of the international community.”

It was not immediately clear whether Xi was directly critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine or his willingness to support the US-led Kremlin pressure campaign.

In the first call since November, Biden hoped to convince Xi to at least reject the idea of ​​rescuing Russia.

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 on Friday morning.

Beijing has so far refused to condemn its authoritarian ally, and Washington fears China may offer economic and military support to Russia, turning the already explosive Atlantic stalemate into a global conflict.

If that were to happen, Beijing would not only be able to fight Putin’s 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.

The White House was adamant that Biden would threaten China with economic sanctions in his call, but some sort of answer was on the table.

Biden “will make it clear that China will take responsibility for its actions in support of Russia’s attack, and we will not hesitate to impose costs,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said before the call.

Blinken has called on China to use its “lever” in Moscow.

China “balancing priorities”

Biden-Xi’s call was made by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chinese Communist Party chief diplomat Yang Jiechi after the White House held a seven-hour “important” meeting in Rome 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 at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February before Putin launched an attack on Ukraine.

Since then, Beijing has stood out for refusing to join the international outcry over the invasion, and has taken the Russian line, blaming the United States and NATO for European tensions. 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.

Although 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.)

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