Fri. Jun 24th, 2022

The presidents of the two countries have held talks discussing the hottest international and bilateral issues

China’s President Xi Jinping urged his US counterpart Joe Biden to engage in talks with Russia to address the reasons behind the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, stressing it should be resolved through diplomacy. The two presidents held talks via a video link on Friday, discussing various international and bilateral issues. The talks were held “at the request” of Washington, China’s Foreign Ministry noted in a statement.

China’s leader stressed that Beijing has always stood “for peace and opposes war,” urging all the parties involved in the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev to stick to diplomacy.

“All sides need to jointly support Russia and Ukraine in having dialogue and negotiation that will produce results and lead to peace,” the Chinese statement issued after the talks reads. At the same time, President Xi told Biden that the ongoing crisis should be addressed on another level as well.

The US and NATO should also have dialogue with Russia to address the crux of the Ukraine crisis and ease the security concerns of both Russia and Ukraine.

Biden, for his part, “underscored his support for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis,” warning Beijing of “the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia,” a brief readout of the talks released by the White House reads. Both Moscow and Beijing have denied Russia had ever sought help from China amid the ongoing offensive in Ukraine, refuting media reports suggesting so.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping. © Getty Images / Greg Bowker
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Biden and Xi also discussed the outstanding issues in the bilateral ties of their countries, with China’s Foreign Ministry and the White House producing somewhat contradicting accounts of the statements made by the two leaders during the talks.

“President Xi pointed out that the China-US relationship, instead of getting out of the predicament created by the previous US administration, has encountered a growing number of challenges,” the Chinese statement reads, blaming the “current situation” in the bilateral ties onto “some people on the US side” who “have not followed through on the important common understanding reached by the two presidents.”

“Biden reiterated that the US does not seek a new Cold War with China; it does not aim to change China’s system; the revitalization of its alliances is not targeted at China; the US does not support ‘Taiwan independence’; and it has no intention to seek a conflict with China,” the statement reads.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. © AFP / GREG BAKER
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The White House, however, said that Biden only “reiterated that US policy on Taiwan has not changed, and emphasized that the United States continues to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo.”

Taiwan has been one of the main issues in US-China relations for years already. Beijing considers the island as an integral part of its territory, yet it has not governed Taiwan for decades, as it became the last stronghold of nationalist forces during the Chinese civil war.

At the same time, Taiwan has enjoyed a cozy relationship with the US, particularly in military cooperation, which Beijing regards as a breach of the One China policy, which America recognizes. China has repeatedly accused Washington of meddling in its internal affairs and of fueling “separatist” sentiments on the island. Both the US and China have repeatedly flexed military muscle near the island, with Beijing frequently staging massive drills near it, as well as sending in large air and naval forces into areas claimed by Taiwan as its sovereign territory.