US President Joe Biden spoke to his Chinese counterpart on Friday during a video call in an effort to convince Beijing that there would be severe consequences for helping Russia militarily or economically as it continues its invasion of Ukraine.
The White House said the secure video call lasted just under two hours.
“He 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 of the call released almost five hours later.
“The President underscored his support for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis,” the White House said.
Biden and Xi Jinping also agreed on the importance of maintaining open lines of communication, to manage the competition between Washington and Beijing, the White House said.
A senior Biden administration official told reporters that the call was “direct, substantive and detailed.”
Earlier this week, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome to also warn against Beijing helping Russia.
“We will see what decisions China makes in the days and weeks ahead,” the administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Chinese state media was releasing news before the call ended and shortly after.
The Chinese president reportedly told Biden that the US and NATO should sit down with Russia to find ways to end the Ukraine war.
But Biden and US officials have been warning that they have evidence to suggest that Russia has asked China for military assistance.
China reportedly voiced its willingness to provide such support. And on Friday, POLITICO quoted a senior EU official as saying that European leaders now have “very reliable evidence,” further validating the US warning.
EU leaders have “very reliable evidence” that China is considering military assistance to Russia, a senior EU official told POLITICO, threatening potential trade measures if weapons’ deliveries go ahead.
“We are concerned about the fact that China is flirting with the Russians,” the EU official told POLITICO, adding that the EU would slap more sanctions on China if it went ahead. “This is the only language Beijing understands,” the official said. Aljazeera