Washington: The absence of a clear denunciation by China of what Russia is doing in Ukraine flies in the face of everything Beijing stands for, including the basic principles of the UN Charter and respect for the sovereignty of nations, the White House has said ahead of the much-anticipated call between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Friday.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said China’s assistance to Russia in invading a foreign country was of significant concern and the response to that would have consequences.

Psaki announced on Thursday that Biden will speak with Chinese President Xi on Friday to discuss the ongoing economic competition between the two countries and Russia’s war against Ukraine.

This (the call) is an opportunity for President Biden to assess where President Xi stands. There has been, of course, rhetorical support, or the absence of clear rhetoric and denunciation – or the absence of denunciation by China of what Russia is doing.

This flies in the face of everything China stands for, including the basic principles of the UN Charter, including the basic principles of respect for the sovereignty of nations, she said.

The fact that China has not denounced what Russia is doing, in and of itself, speaks volumes. It also speaks volumes not only in Russia or in Ukraine, but around the world. This call also comes as we have made clear our deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia and the potential implications and consequences of that, she said.

The announcement of the much-awaited call between the two leaders comes days after US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met Yang Jiechi, Chinese Communist Party Politburo Member and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission, in Rome.

The President is a big believer in leader-to-leader diplomacy. And they have a lot to discuss, given the last time the President met with President Xi virtually was last November – a couple of months ago, Psaki said.

The meeting tomorrow, in terms of how we got here, came as a direct follow-up to the meeting our national Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, had with his counterpart.

They talked about the two presidents’ meeting or engaging in the near future during that meeting. So, hence, it is happening tomorrow, she said.

Responding to a question, she said the US was concerned that China is considering directly assisting Russia by providing them with more military equipment to use in Ukraine.

It is a high concern, a significant concern, given our Secretary of State just conveyed that. And certainly, our concerns about China assisting, in any way, Russia as they invade a foreign country is of significant concern and the response to that would have consequences, she said.

China has refused to condemn the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China’s ceremonial parliament early this month, Foreign Minister Wang described Russia as Beijing’s most important strategic partner .

No matter how perilous the international landscape, we will maintain our strategic focus and promote the development of comprehensive China-Russia partnership in the new era, Wang told reporters.

The friendship between the two peoples is ironclad,” he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24 announced a military operation against Ukraine and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to unprecedented consequences.

More than three weeks of war has created a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine that has accelerated in recent days. The United Nations estimates that over 2 million Ukrainians have fled their country, and the number is expected to grow.

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