Biden and Xi Jinping talk about Ukraine reflects ‘acute tensions’

The US is trying to force China not to interfere with anti-Russian sanctions

On Friday, a telephone conversation took place between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden. The conversation between the two leaders focused mainly on the Ukrainian crisis. Both in Washington and Beijing, experts and journalists are trying in “hot pursuit” to analyze the communication between the head of the United States and China.

Photo : Global Look Press

U.S. “harsh rhetoric” ahead of President Joe Biden’s phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, CNN claims in its analysis, suggests that convergence on Russia’s actions in Ukraine is “unlikely” and “reflects the current acute tension between Washington and Beijing.”

Biden and Xi talked for almost two hours on Friday, according to the White House, and the US set the stage for a stern warning that Chinese firms would pay a serious price if Beijing gave Russia military and economic aid. According to CNN, “The call showed that the US has overcome one of its most deeply rooted foreign policy fears – the risk of an open confrontation with China and a simultaneous confrontation with Russia – in yet another extraordinary geopolitical reshuffle” caused by the conflict in Ukraine.

“Given that China is known for ruthlessly pursuing its own interests and is not interested in strengthening the Western-led world order,” CNN continues, it seems unlikely that Xi will choose what the US considers the “correct side of history” in the Ukraine conflict — according to at least until his own economic interests require a change in course. And relations between the US and China are so toxic that many analysts predicted a new cold war in the Pacific between rivals, the American channel notes.

According to the author of the CNN analysis Stephen Collinson, in the current conditions, any significant Chinese assistance for Russia can be extremely valuable. At the same time, “any promise by Xi not to violate international sanctions on Russia will be seen as a major victory for Biden, although the Chinese may demand concessions from the US for such a move, perhaps over Trump-era tariffs.”

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Thursday gave a clear preview of the phone conversations, saying “China will be held accountable for any action” it takes to support Russia.

As CNN notes, the State Department chief's comments were a thinly disguised hint that Chinese firms could face secondary sanctions if Beijing offered aid to Moscow. “This should be of concern to the Xi Jinping government, given the current slowdown in China’s traditionally high growth rate and the economic impact of the latest surge in COVID-19. The US president may have some leverage as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albarez on Monday that China is not a party to the conflict and “even less wants to be affected by sanctions,” the official Xinhua news agency reported. “. The Xi government has been trying to strike a delicate balance during the Ukraine crisis, according to a CNN analyst. On the one hand, if the United States is bogged down in Europe for years, it could thwart Washington's goal of moving military, intelligence, and diplomatic resources to Asia to deal with the wider implications of China's rise. But, on the other hand, China's long-term economic interests will also be at risk if the conflict in Ukraine leads to a decline in the global economy. Therefore, Beijing sought to find a diplomatic middle ground, refraining from criticizing Russia, but seeking to avoid a point of no return in relations with the United States and its important trading partners in the European Union.

For its part, the Chinese edition of the Global Times, commenting on the Friday telephone conversations between the leaders of China and the United States, recalled that just a few hours before the conversation between President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden, China in a rare form gave strong signals, saying that it never will accept Washington's threats and coercion regarding the Ukraine crisis, and promising a strong response if the US takes action that harms China's legitimate interests.

In an exclusive interview with Global Times, a Chinese official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Beijing accepted the US proposal for a telephone conversation between the two heads of state on Sino-US relations and the situation in Ukraine out of bilateral relations to promote peace talks and urge the US to take the right stand.

China will never accept threats and coercion from the United States, and if the United States takes measures that harm China's legitimate interests and the interests of Chinese enterprises and individuals, the PRC will not sit idly by and give a strong response, the official emphasized, noting that Washington should not have any illusions about this.

As the Global Times writes, Chinese analysts believe that a clear statement of China's position is very necessary and timely when the US is trying to manipulate Friday's talk to force China to change its diplomatic stance, provoke a deterioration in Sino-Russian relations and paint a “sinister and vicious image” China.

In a conversation Friday night, China sent a stern warning to the Biden administration not to have any illusions about China's policy change and urges Biden to calm down on the practical issues of the two countries, analysts said.

Friday's phone call was held at the time how the United States found itself in a dual position: fearing a possible nuclear conflict with Russia due to excessive pressure on it and the risk of a rapid escalation of conflicts with China over the Taiwan issue, Chinese analysts said.

Behind the Biden administration's pressure on China was its deep concern and urgent need for China's help in the Ukraine crisis, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at China University of Foreign Affairs, told Global Times.

“Friday's talks for the US are much more relevant than other issues that Biden has been dealing with since he took office,” says Professor Lee.

The United States, on the one hand, is seeking Beijing's help to exacerbate the Ukrainian crisis it created but failed to manage; on the other hand, Washington pressures and threatens China, which is typical American practice, Li said, noting that such behavior is unwise and counterproductive.

“If the US is under the illusion that China will give in to their pressure in regarding the Ukrainian crisis and Sino-Russian relations, it is only a reflection of the fact that the United States has too superficial understanding of the current complex international situations and the rightness and wrongness of the facts,” Li said.

Pushing Russia into a corner on the Ukraine issue, The United States has also tried to corner China with the most “explosive issue” in bilateral relations, the issue of Taiwan, according to Yang Xiyu, a senior fellow at the China Institute of International Affairs. According to the expert, the US is rapidly advancing its strategy in the Indo-Pacific region, “using Taiwan as a pawn, and continues to send false signals to the Taiwanese separatists by sending former US diplomats to visit the island, which shows that their conflict with China is over the Taiwan issue is rapidly escalating.”


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