Biden to speak with China’s Xi Jinping on Friday about “competition between our two countries,” and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Biden to speak with China’s Xi Jinping on Friday about “competition between our two countries,” and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Washington — President Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping for nearly two hours Friday morning, as the U.S. tries to manage China’s ties to Russia amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine

Mr. Biden “described the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians,” a White House readout of the call said. The White House did not say how Xi responded, or whether the two leaders reached any agreement over Ukraine. 

The readout also said the two discussed how to manage competition between the two countries, and Mr. Biden reiterated that U.S. policy on Taiwan has not changed. 

Before the call, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the discussion was part of “ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication between” the U.S. and China. The White House did not outline specific goals or desired outcomes for the call ahead of time.  

Mr. Biden and Xi last spoke in November for a virtual summit that lasted more than three hours. Their call Friday follows a meeting between White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and China’s Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday, which was described by a senior administration official as an “intense, seven-hour session.”

The official said the Biden administration has “deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia” as it continues its attacks in Ukraine, and Sullivan was “direct” about the consequences of “certain actions.”

In an official readout of Sullivan’s meeting with Yang, the White House said Sullivan “raised a range of issues in U.S.-China relations, with substantial discussion of Russia’s war against Ukraine” and underscored the “importance of maintaining open lines of communication” between the U.S. and China.

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is meeting with Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Qin Gang at State Department Friday, hours after Mr. Biden’s conversation with Xi. 

While many countries have distanced themselves from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine three weeks ago, and the U.S. and the West have united in imposing steep costs on Moscow for its war, Russia has turned to China for support and sought military aid and equipment, two U.S. officials told CBS News earlier this week.

Chinese and Russian officials each denied that Moscow sought assistance from Beijing.

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Author: Shirley