WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden warned Chinese President Xi Jinping during a two-hour phone call on Friday that there would be consequences for Beijing if it provided “material support” for Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, senior administration officials said.
During the call, Biden shared with Xi a detailed review of how things have developed with the Russian invasion and his assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calculations along with Biden’s support for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, said a senior administration official.
The officials said the conversation was “direct, it was substantive and it was detailed.”
“The president really wasn’t making specific requests of China,” said the official. “He was laying out the assessment of the situation, what he thinks makes sense, and the implications of certain actions. You know, I think our view is that China will make its own decisions.”
White House officials have raised concerns this week over China’s offer of assistance to Russia, which could potentially undercut efforts by the U.S. and Europe to put pressure on Putin to end the assault on Ukraine.
China has avoided condemning Putin’s attack on Ukraine or calling it an invasion, though Chinese officials have expressed concern for the humanitarian situation and called for a peaceful resolution.
Chinese officials have blamed the United States for the Ukraine crisis and said Western countries should respect Russia’s “legitimate security concerns.” It has also amplified a Russian conspiracy theory that the U.S. is funding chemical and biological weapons activity in Ukraine.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday declined to detail what the specific consequences would be for China or what would be considered “material support.” She also declined to comment on whether the U.S. left the call with any assessment of whether China would provide support to Russia.