James Politi and Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington, John Reed in Lviv, Max Seddon in Riga and Edward White in Seoul
Xi Jinping warned Joe Biden against imposing “drastic and indiscriminate sanctions” in a lengthy call on Friday as the Chinese leader brushed off the threat of retaliation from Washington for his stance on the war in Ukraine.
The conversation marked a pivotal moment in diplomatic efforts to end Russia’s war on its neighbor, with US officials warning they were prepared to punish China if it aided Vladimir Putin’s military onslaught.
According to an account of the Beijing call, Xi asked Biden for a “cold and rational” approach to the conflict, stressed that “the Ukraine crisis is not something we want to see,” and said the The United States and China “must assume our share of international responsibilities and work for peace and tranquility in the world”.
But the Chinese leader also denounced the economic punishment that the United States and its allies imposed on Russia in response to the war, and which could be extended to other countries, including China, if they side with the side of Moscow.
“Radical and indiscriminate sanctions would only hurt the people. If they worsen further, they could trigger serious crises in the global economy and trade, finance, energy, food, industrial and supply chains, crippling the already languishing global economy and causing irrevocable loss,” Xi said, according to the Chinese account of the appeal. .
He added: “The absolute priority is to maintain dialogue and negotiations, to avoid civilian casualties, to prevent a humanitarian crisis and to cease hostilities as soon as possible.”
According to a report of the White House call, Biden “outlined the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia as it carries out brutal attacks on Ukrainian cities and civilians” while saying he supported “a diplomatic resolution to the crisis”.
Read more about the Biden-Xi call here