U.S. President Joe Biden will speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday about Russia’s war against Ukraine and economic competition between the two countries, the White House announced Thursday.
“This is part of our ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication between the United States and the PRC,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
Biden will speak with the People’s Republic of China leader by telephone. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday for seven hours.
Friday’s call comes as Biden works to complete his administration’s foreign policy adjustment, known as the “pivot to Asia,” to more accurately reflect Washington’s view of China as America’s most important military and economic competitor.
China, a close ally to Russia, has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sullivan sought more transparency on Beijing’s position on Russia at Monday’s meeting in which he warned any Chinese attempts to help Russia avoid western sanctions would cost Xi’s government.
After the meeting, the United States voiced concern over the “alignment” between Russia and China, both nuclear powers ruled by authoritarian leaders.
The U.S. informed Asian and European allies on the same day that U.S. intelligence had concluded that China had indicated to Russia it would agree to provide military and financial support to Russia.
U.S. officials have warned that Beijing has helped spread Russian disinformation that could be a pretext for Russia to attack Ukraine with biological or chemical weapons.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian last week reiterated unfounded Russian claims that there were 26 bio-labs and related facilities in Ukraine in “which the U.S. Department of Defense has absolute control.” The United Nations has said it has no information supporting the accusations.
In early February, weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Xi in Beijing for the start of the Winter Olympics. During the visit, the two leaders declared in a 5,000-word statement that their “friendship” was limitless.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.