Biden talks to China’s Xi, wants to urge him to war with Russia – Press Enterprise


WASHINGTON (AP) — Two key figures in determining the tide of war halfway around the world, President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping, spoke Friday as the White House tries to stop Beijing from lending military or economic aid to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Afford.

Planning for the call has been in the works since Biden and Xi held a virtual summit in November, but differences between Washington and Beijing are expected to take center stage over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pursuit of his three-week war against Ukraine the calling. The two leaders began the secure video call at 9:03 am EDT.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden will question Xi about Beijing’s “rhetorical support” of Putin and the “lack of denunciation” of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

“This is an opportunity to assess where President Xi stands,” Psaki said.

China tried again on Friday to emphasize its demands for negotiations and donations of humanitarian aid, while accusing the US of provoking Russia and fueling the conflict by supplying arms to Ukraine.

“China has constantly urged every effort to avoid civilian casualties,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily briefing. “What do civilians in Ukraine need more: food and sleeping bags or machine guns and artillery? It’s easy to answer.”

In a bid to show international support for China’s position, state broadcaster CCTV said Xi discussed Ukraine in phone calls with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, adding that the leaders’ views were “extremely narrow.” be.

Long-strained US-China relations have only grown strained since the start of Biden’s presidency. Biden has repeatedly criticized China for military provocations against Taiwan, human rights abuses against ethnic minorities and efforts to repress pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong.

But the relationship may have hit a new low with the Russian invasion.

In the days after Putin stationed Russian troops in Ukraine, Xi’s government tried to distance itself from Russia’s offensive but avoided criticizing Moscow. At other times, Beijing’s actions have been provocative and have included reinforcing unverified Russian claims that Ukraine, with US support, is running chemical and biological weapons laboratories.

Earlier this week, the US informed its Asian and European allies that US intelligence had determined that China had signaled to Russia that it was ready to provide both military support for the Ukraine campaign and financial support to help mitigate the effects of the to fend off the severe sanctions imposed by the West.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated Thursday that the Biden administration remains concerned that China is considering supplying military equipment to Russia. He said Biden will make it clear to Xi “that China will bear responsibility for any actions it takes to support Russia’s aggression and we will not hesitate to impose costs.”

Before the call, a senior government official said China had sent mixed messages about its support for Russia. According to a senior Biden administration official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal analysis, there were early signs that Chinese state banks were withdrawing from financing Russian operations. But there have also been public comments from Chinese officials expressing support for Russia as a strategic partner.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi met in Rome earlier this week for an intense seven-hour talk on the Russian invasion and other issues.

Ahead of the talks in Rome, Sullivan said the US would not tolerate China or any other country helping Russia circumvent anti-economic sanctions imposed by the US and other allies since the Feb. 24 invasion.

Sullivan also said the government noted that China knew Putin was “planning something” before invading Ukraine, but the Chinese government “may not have understood the full extent” of what Putin was up to.

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 leaders would like to support Russia, but also acknowledge how poorly Russian military action is going as an overwhelmed Ukrainian military is putting up stiff resistance, 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 was weighing the potential “reputational setback” linked to the Russian camp. The Chinese response to Russia’s request for help “is in the process of being drafted,” the official added.

Despite siding with Russia, China has also reached out to Ukraine, with its ambassador to the country quoted as saying on Monday: “China is a friendly country for the Ukrainian people. As ambassador, I can responsibly say that China will forever be a good force for Ukraine economically and politically.”

“We have seen how great the unity of the Ukrainian people is, and that means their strength,” Fan Xianrong was quoted as saying by Ukraine’s state-run news service Ukrinform when telling regional authorities in the western city of Lviv where the Chinese embassy has moved.

Commemorating China’s threat to use force to assert its claim on Taiwan, the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Friday, just hours before the Biden Xi call, Taiwan’s defense ministry said.

Any conflict over the island’s self-governing democracy must involve the US, which has a legal obligation to ensure Taiwan can defend itself and treat threats to the island as a matter of “serious concern.”

“The national army’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems are fully in possession of the movements of Chinese ships at sea and aircraft in the airspace around the Taiwan Straits to ensure national security,” the ministry said in a statement.

Zhao said he had no details on the ship’s passage through the straits, but added, “I believe the airline has its routine training schedule and it should not be associated with communications between the Chinese and American leaders. “


Associated Press writers Jill Lawless in London and Josh Boak in Washington contributed to this report.


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