US President Joe Biden laid out to Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Friday the “consequences” of any backing for Russia in its war against Ukraine, the White House said, as Beijing showed no sign of joining Western condemnation of the invasion.
The comments came during a nearly two-hour phone call between the leaders of the world s two largest economies, focusing on Ukraine, where China s close ally Russia is in the fourth week of a bloody assault.
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The White House said that Biden described to Xi “the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians.”
The White House refused to characterize Xi s response to the warning or say how hard Biden pushed him. “It wasn t about making asks, it wasn t about making assessments. It was about having an ongoing dialogue,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
But she said that “is something we ll be watching and the world will be watching.”
Beijing was ambiguous about Xi s position after the call.
Chinese state television CCTV reported that Xi said the war was “in no one s interest” and that “state-to-state relations cannot go to the stage of military hostilities.”
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However, there was no mention of direct criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a readout from the Chinese foreign ministry laid some responsibility for Russia s invasion of its neighbor to the West.
“The US and NATO should also have dialogue with Russia to address the crux of the Ukraine crisis and ease security concerns of both Russia and Ukraine,” the foreign ministry noted.