New Delhi: Chinese premier Xi Jinping told US President Joe Biden over video call Friday that “war was in no one’s interest”, as Russia continued with bombing Ukraine cities in an offensive that has entered its fourth week.
According to Chinese state media CCTV, Xi told Biden, “conflict and confrontation are not in the interests of anyone,” and “China and the US have a responsibility to work for peace”, CNN reported.
President Joe Biden, on the other hand, “sought to prevent Beijing giving new life to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”, according to news agency Reuters.
The call lasted one hour and fifty minutes.
The US has been trying unsuccessfully to draw in China in the West’s all-round condemnation of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told CNN earlier Friday, “China should “understand that their future is with the United States, with Europe, with other developed and developing countries around the world. Their future is not to stand with Vladimir Putin.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had said Thursday: “The two leaders will discuss managing the competition between our two countries as well as Russia’s war against Ukraine and other issues of mutual concern.”
China’s envoy to Ukraine Fan Xianrong offered strong words of support for the war-torn country on Monday. He told Lviv Governor Maksym Kozytskyi that China was a “friendly country for the Ukrainian people” and would “never attack Ukraine,” according to a post on the Lviv government’s website.
Ambassador Xianrong praised the strength and unity demonstrated by the Ukrainian people, without directly referring to their efforts in resisting Russia’s invasion.
Friday’s call was Biden and Xi’s first since November. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had met China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi on Monday.
“China has avoided public criticism of Moscow for the war, and Xi and Vladimir Putin declared in the weeks before the invasion that their countries’ friendship had ‘no forbidden zones’. China has also said it wants to avoid being impacted by U.S. sanctions over the war in Ukraine,” Bloomberg reported.
The article said: “The Biden administration has tried to persuade Beijing to not contribute to the war. The White House’s view is that Beijing is tacitly supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. China denies that is the case, and Chinese officials said they want to see the conflict end. The U.S. has repeatedly warned China it would suffer consequences if it provided direct support for Russia in the war.”