Biden Urges Xi: Stop Aiding Russian Invaders
Face to face by video, President Joe Biden laid out to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday (Saturday, Mar. 19, 2022, in Manila) the stiff consequences the Chinese would face from the US if they provide military or economic assistance for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, from sanctions, a ban on the export of food and products with military applications, to a freeze on Chinese cash and assets in the US and its allies, Aamer Madhani reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: President Biden speaking with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China about Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine
There was no indication he got any assurance in return. In fact, Xi blamed the US for the crisis and insisted with a Chinese proverb that the next move was up to Biden: “He who tied the bell to the tiger must take it off,” Xi said, according to a Chinese government readout.
China’s Foreign Ministry deplored “conflict and confrontation” as “not in anyone’s interest,” but assigned no blame to Russia for the invasion, even as Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently told Xi about it as early as Feb. 4, when the Beijing Winter Olympics started. The US also informed China of Russia’s plan but ignored the warning.
China is deeply involved in the Russian adventure, with CNN, the UK’s Daily Express, Reuters, Agence France-Presse (AFP), and Euronews reporting that Chinese military vehicles had been deployed to Ukraine but hundreds of them conked out as inferior Chinese-made copies of French tires were destroyed by sub-zero temperatures in Ukraine and the vehicles themselves could not negotiate the muddy roads.
Russia is also asking for Chinese meals ready to eat (MREs) for its troops but China’s MREs only provide 1,000 calories, a far cry from the required maximum of 6,000 calories per meal for freezing Russian troops. China has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine but benefited only pro-Russian separatists.
At the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki said, “China has to make a decision for themselves, about where they want to stand and how they want the history books to look at them and view their actions.”
She declined to detail possible consequences Biden specified to the Chinese president if his country provides support for the Russian invasion.
But a senior administration official who briefed reporters following the leaders’ call said that Biden pointed to the economic isolation that Russia has faced — including economy-battering sanctions and major Western corporations suspending operations — as he sought to underscore the costs that China might suffer.