Washington/Beijing: The United States President Joe Biden warned Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Friday of ‘consequences’ if Beijing gave material support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the White House said, while both sides stressed the need for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
The United States, however, did not provide details on what those ‘consequences’ could be or how the U.S. would define “material support”, press secretary Jen Psaki indicated China’s massive trade flows could be impacted.
“Sanctions are certainly one tool in the toolbox,” Psaki said in a news briefing when asked whether China could face trade tariffs or sanctions.
After the two counterparts spoke for nearly two hours, Psaki said that the United States would communicate any consequences directly to Beijing “with our European partners and counterparts.”
The phone call between Biden and China’s Xi lasted about two hours and was 'direct' and 'substantive', a senior US official says.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) March 18, 2022
China’s foreign ministry said Xi told Biden the war in Ukraine must end as soon as possible and emphasized the need for dialogue to solve the conflict.
“The top priorities now are to continue dialogue and negotiations, avoid civilian casualties, prevent a humanitarian crisis, cease fighting and end the war as soon as possible,” Xi said.
Xi advocated Russia-Ukraine dialogue and negotiations and suggested Washington and NATO conduct talks with Russia to solve the “crux” of the Ukraine crisis and resolve the security concerns of both Russia and Ukraine.
“The Ukraine crisis is something that we don’t want to see,” Chinese state media quoted Xi saying in the call, which it said was requested by the U.S. side.
Xi warned against sanctions
“Sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions would only make the people suffer. If further escalated, they could trigger serious crises in global economy and trade, finance, energy, food, and industrial and supply chains, crippling the already languishing world economy and causing irrevocable losses,” Xi warned Biden against imposing indiscriminate sanctions.
Breaking news: Xi Jinping warns Joe Biden against imposing ‘sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions’ as officials say the US is ready to punish China if it assists Vladimir Putin’s military assault in Ukraine: https://t.co/rSSip8dWiT pic.twitter.com/KQ5gLJfGF3
— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) March 18, 2022