Washington/Beijing, Mar 19
US President Joe Biden warned his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that there would be “implications and consequences” for Beijing if it chose to provide direct “material support” to Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine and increasing attacks on civilians, the White House has said.
The 110-minute secure video call on Friday was the first conversation between the two leaders since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Russia: Used hypersonic missiles
- Russia said it used hypersonic Kinzhal missiles to destroy weapons depot in Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankivsk region
- Moscow said the underground depot hit by Kinzhal system on Friday housed Ukrainian missiles and ammunition
- Russia claimed to destroy military radio and reconnaissance centres near Odessa using the Bastion coastal missile system
“He (President Biden) described the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians,” the White House said in a readout.
Later, a senior Biden administration official refused to publicly detail what those consequences might be for Beijing, a close ally of Moscow.
Ever since Russia launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, China has been treading a fine line, declining to condemn it as an invasion.
The call between the two presidents was about making sure there is a “direct, candid and detailed and very substantive conversation at the leader level,” the senior administration official said.
President Xi underscored that there have been and will continue to be differences between China and the US. What matters is to keep such differences under control. A steadily growing relationship is in the interest of both sides, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“China does not want to see the situation in Ukraine to come to this. China stands for peace and opposes war. This is embedded in China’s history and culture,” the statement quoted Xi as telling Biden.
“All sides need to jointly support Russia and Ukraine in having dialogue and negotiation that will produce results and lead to peace. The US and NATO should also have dialogue with Russia to address the crux of the Ukraine crisis and ease the security concerns of both Russia and Ukraine,” Xi said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the vast majority of the nearly two hours was spent with the president outlining the views of the United States, its allies and partners on this crisis, including a detailed overview of efforts to prevent and then respond to the invasion, “how we got here, steps we’ve taken, where we’ve gone and why”. —
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