HomeWorld NewsBiden will warn China of 'costs' if it offers support to Russia
Biden will warn China of 'costs' if it offers support to Russia
Xi tells Biden Ukraine war is ‘not in ANYONE’s interest’: Chinese President criticizes the invasion in two-hour call with the White House as Putin holds huge rally hailing the success of the ‘special operation’
Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Joe Biden that a war in Ukraine is not in anyone’s interest
The two spoke in a video conference on Friday morning for nearly two hours
‘The Ukraine crisis is something that we don’t want to see,’ said Xi, according to Reuters
It comes as a senior U.S. intelligence figure said a frustrated Putin may rely more on his nuclear deterrent
Hours before the call China sent a signal to Washington by sailing an aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait
The 70,000-ton Shandong is the pride of the Chinese navy and can carry 32 planes and 12 helicopters
Her journey was shadowed through sensitive waters by the destroyer USS Ralph Johnson
Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Joe Biden that a war in Ukraine is not in anyone’s interest when the two leaders spoke in a video conference on Friday morning.
Conflicts and confrontations are not in the interests of anyone, Xi told Biden on a video call.
‘The Ukraine crisis is something that we don’t want to see,’ said Xi, according to Reuters.
Biden was expected to tell Xi that China would pay a steep price if it supports Russia.
It was the first time the two spoke since a video summit in November. Relations between Washington and Beijing have gotten more tense amid Chinese aggression in the Pacific and now concerns it will back Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.
Hours earlier China sailed its elite aircraft carrier Shandong through the sensitive Taiwan Strait.
Its provocative voyage, amid heightened fears that Beijing is preparing to seize the autonomous island of Taiwan, was shadowed every step of the way by a U.S. destroyer.
It sets the scene for a new round of diplomatic maneuvers as Washington tries to choke off any remaining support for Beijing.
A day earlier Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned China that the Biden administration would not hesitate to make it pay for moves that could prolong the war in Ukraine.
‘President Biden will be speaking to President Xi tomorrow, and will make clear that China will bear responsibility for any actions it takes to support Russia’s aggression,’ he said.
‘And we will not hesitate to impose costs.’
Xi Jiping of China is due to speak with President Joe Biden on Friday morning at 9am. Biden is expected to warn his counterpart of consequences if he helps Russia continues its war in Ukraine, which is now in its 23rd day
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Xi have met dozens of times as they tried to forge an alternative to American hegemony. That gives Xi particular leverage, in the eyes of Washington as diplomats try to hasten the end of the Ukraine war
The 70,000-ton Shandong is the pride of the Chinese navy and can carry 32 planes and 12 helicopters. It sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Friday morning hours before the Biden-Xi call in a clear sign of muscle flexing
A satellite image taken over the city of Chernihiv, in northern Ukraine, on Wednesday and released Thursday shows blasts and fires caused by Russian air strikes in civilian areas
Ukrainian servicemen carry containers backdropped by a blaze at a warehouse after a bombing on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday
Rescuers work next to a residential building damaged by shelling, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released March 18, 2022
Relations between China and Russia have warmed in recent years, giving Beijing an opportunity to make a difference.
‘We believe China in particular has a responsibility to use its influence with President Putin and to defend the international rules and principles that it professes to support,’ said Blinken.
‘Instead, it appears that China is moving in the opposite direction by refusing to condemn this aggression, while seeking to portray itself as a neutral arbiter.’
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the call was a chance for Biden to see ‘where President Xi stands.
‘The fact that China has not denounced what Russia is doing, in and of itself, speaks volumes,’ she told reporters.
Earlier this week, the U.S. told allies it had intelligence that China had signaled to Russia that it was willing to provide military and financial backing to help stave off the impact of sanctions imposed by the West.
Putin, meanwhile, on Friday gave a tub-thumping speech to tens of thousands of banner-waving Russians in an attempt to drum up support for his stalled invasion of Ukraine, as he peddled debunked claims about why the war started and shilled a false narrative of Russia’s battlefield ‘success’.
The Russian president took to the stage at Moscow’s Luzhniki World Cup stadium dressed in a £10,000 Loro Piana jacket – despite his country’s economy crumbling under the weight of Western sanctions – to address a crowd waving Russian national flags and banners marked with the letter ‘Z’, which has become a potent symbol of the invasion.
Putin, who called the rally to mark the anniversary of the last time he attacked Ukraine to annex the Crimea region, spoke of sharing a ‘common destiny’ with Crimeans, of ‘de-Nazifying’ the region in 2014, and of the ‘bravery’ of soldiers currently fighting in Ukraine. He was met with chants of ‘Russia, Russia, Russia.’
Speaking in front of banners that read ‘For a world without Nazism’ and ‘For Russia’ – with the letter ‘Z’ in each picked out in bold – he said: ‘Sevastopol [capital of Crimea] did the right thing when they put up a barrier to neo-Nazis and radicals, which is already happening on other territories.
‘[The] people of Donbass also disagreed with this, and straight-away they organised military operations against [the Nazis]. They were surrounded and shelled by guns, the Ukrainians sent airstrikes against them. This is called genocide,’ he said, repeating his widely-debunked justification for attacking. ‘It is to save people from this suffering and genocide that we launched our military operation.’
Putin then praised troops taking part in his ‘special operation’, who he said are fighting for the ‘universal values’ of all Russians. The words ‘we don’t abandon our own’ were emblazoned on screens around the stadium. Paraphrasing the Bible, he said: ‘There is no greater love than giving up one’s soul for one’s friends.
‘The best confirmation of this is how our guys are fighting during this operation, shoulder to shoulder, helping each other. When it is necessary, they cover each-other as if it was their own brother from bullets. We haven’t had such unity in a long time,’ he said.
The event included patriotic songs, including a performance of ‘Made in the U.S.S.R.,’ with the opening lines ‘Ukraine and Crimea, Belarus and Moldova, it’s all my country.’ Moscow police said 200,000 people had attended the event – though the stadium’s capacity is only 81,000. Some Russians spoke to journalists at the event about how they had been brought there in government buses.
With the war now in its 23rd day, U.S. defense officials say the Russian advance has been stalled for at least a week.
Instead its forces have relied on long-range bombardment of cities in what appears to be an attempt to destroy the will of the Ukrainian people.
Worse could follow.
Blinken warned on Thursday of false flag operations designed to set the stage for a chemical weapons attack.
And a senior intelligence figure detailed the possible use of nuclear weapons in a new, 67-page summary of global threats.
Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, raised the specter of a possible nuclear attack on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital which has resisted Russian advances, and said a desperate Putin posed a threat to the whole world.
Vladimir Putin gave a tub-thumping speech to tens of thousands of banner-waving Russians in an attempt to drum up support for his stalled invasion of Ukraine
The event included patriotic songs, including a performance of ‘Made in the U.S.S.R.,’ with the opening lines ‘Ukraine and Crimea, Belarus and Moldova, it’s all my country’
Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, revealed concerning details in a new report that Putin is likely to threaten to use nuclear weapons against the West if Ukrainian defense forces continue to push back against the invasion
A Russian Iskander-M mobile short-range ballistic missile launcher in 2019. The same type of missile was also deployed with a previously unknown decoy during the ongoing conflict with Ukraine
These dart-shaped armaments, originally thought to be cluster bombs, have been seen on social media from almost the beginning of Russia’s invasion. They are thought to be decoys, protecting missiles from air defense systems
‘As this war and its consequences slowly weaken Russian conventional strength, Russia likely will increasingly rely on its nuclear deterrent to signal the West and project strength to its internal and external audiences,’ wrote in the report that was obtained by Fox News.
His report notes that Russia claims to be developing missiles that are capable of circumventing Western defenses in order to ‘ensure that Russia can credibly inflict unacceptable damage on the West.’
But attention shifts to China’s role on Friday morning, with a series of signs that Beijing is in no mood to back down.
Instead a Chinese diplomat blamed the US for the war in Ukraine and accused Washington of ‘fanning the flames’ by supplying weapons and ammunition to the country.
Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs,Hua Chunying, said: ‘The claim that China is on the wrong side of history is overbearing. It is the US that is on the wrong side of history.’
She also repeated Russian talking points justifying its invasion of Ukraine.
‘If the US had honored its assurances, refrained from repeatedly expanding NATO and pledged that NATO would not admit Ukraine, and had not fanned the flames by supplying weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, the situation would have been very different,’ she added.
And the passage of the Shandong will be interpreted as a furtherprovocative move.
The Taiwan Strait in the South China Sea is a hotly contested stretch of water, with China claiming democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory.
Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, said: ‘The claim that China is on the wrong side of history is overbearing. It is the US that is on the wrong side of history
Chinese elite aircraft carrier Shandong arrives at Dalian, a city in northeast China, in May 2018. It is the first aircraft carrier produced domestically in China and a jewel in the navy’s crown
The Taiwan Strait between the People’s Republic and Chinese city Xiamen is a contested stretch of water in the South China Sea – with Shandong sailing through to ‘intimidate’ Taipei
Over the past two years Beijing has stepped up its military activity near the island to assert its sovereignty claims, alarming Taipei and Washington.
An anonymous source who was not authorised to speak to the media told Reuters that the Shandong sailed close to the Taiwan-controlled island of Kinmen, which sits directly opposite the Chinese city of Xiamen.
It was shadowed by American missile destroyer the USS Ralph Johnson.
‘Around 10:30 a.m. the CV-17 [carrier] appeared around 30 nautical miles to the southwest of Kinmen, and was photographed by a passenger on a civilian flight,’ the source said, referring to the Shandong’s official service number.
The USS Ralph Johnson, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, followed the carrier, which did not have aircraft on its deck and sailed north through the strait, the source added.
Taiwan also sent warships to keep an eye on the situation, they added.
Taiwan’s Defence Ministry declined to comment.
China’s Defence Ministry and the U.S. Navy did not immediately responded to requests for comment.
American missile destroyer the USS Ralph Johnson (foreground), seen sailing through the Philippine Sea in June 2020, is based at US Navy centre Yokosuka, near Tokyo
The sail happened about 12 hours before U.S. President Joe Biden is due to speak to Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
The source described the timing of the Shandong’s movement so close to that call as ‘provocative.’
China says Taiwan is the most sensitive and important issue in its relations with the United States.
Washington has no formal diplomatic ties with Taipei, but is Taiwan’s most important international backer and arms supplier.
The Shandong is China’s newest aircraft carrier, commissioned in 2019.
China’s only other carrier, the Liaoning, is mostly used for training purposes.
Both ships have ventured close to Taiwan before.
In December 2019, shortly before presidential and parliamentary elections in Taiwan, the Shandong sailed through the Taiwan Strait, a move condemned by Taiwan as attempted intimidation.
Taiwan’s air force scrambles aircraft almost daily to see off Chinese warplanes flying into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, mostly to the southwestern part of the strait.
Taiwan calls this ‘gray zone’ warfare activity, designed to both test its responses and wear out Taiwan’s air force.