President Joe Biden held a two-hour video call with President Xi Jinping on March 18, following allegations from the U.S. administration that China was considering giving military assistance to Russia for the ongoing war in Ukraine.
“President Biden detailed our efforts to prevent and then respond to the invasion [of Ukraine], including by imposing costs on Russia,” said a White House readout of the call.
“He described the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians,” the statement continued.
“The President underscored his support for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis. The two leaders also agreed on the importance of maintaining open lines of communication, to manage the competition between our two countries.”
Biden also expressed that U.S. policy on Taiwan has not changed and opposed unilateral changes to the status quo. Biden and Xi ultimately tasked their administrations to follow up on on the call during the coming days and weeks.
Xi refused to refer to the war in Ukraine as a “war” during the call, and referred to it instead as a “crisis,” according to Chinese news agency Xinhua, which released several talking points immediately after the end of the call.
The Chinese leader also said that the United States and China would need to work together to “shoulder our share of international responsibilities and work for world peace and tranquility,” while noting that the world was neither tranquil nor stable, Xinhua reported.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a Friday press briefing that Biden did not receive any specific assurances from Xi that China would act one way or another.
She also said that the United States and its allies had not agreed on any specifics regarding what “consequences” would be issued by the United States, or whether there would be any difference in response based on whether China gave economic or military support to Russia.
“We’re not in a place at this point to outline the specifics,” Psaki said. “We’re still discussing [with G7 allies],” Psaki said. “We have a range of tools that could be considered and sanctions are certainly one tool in the toolbox.”
When asked why the administration was not giving Americans any details about the Biden-Xi discussion, Psaki said that was the “most constructive” way to have a dialogue.
The virtual meeting was the first between Biden and Xi since November, when the two leaders held a three-hour long video conference. That meeting ended with an agreement that the two leaders would pursue future talks oriented toward maintaining strategic stability.
Conversely, Friday’s meeting was largely characterized as an opportunity for Biden to assess where Xi stands on the issue of the Ukraine war, and relations with Russia generally.
“This is a conversation about where President Xi stands,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki ahead of the meeting.
“It’s up to the Chinese to decide where they want to stand, where they want to be as the history books are written.”
This is an excerpt from The Epoch Times.
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