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US: Joe Biden warned Xi Jinping against aiding Russia

Adam Schultz (White House) / Wikimedia Commons

US President Joe Biden warned his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that aiding Russia in its war in Ukraine would be a “gigantic mistake.” Biden cited that China would be potentially violating the sanctions the West has imposed on Russia.

In an interview on CBS “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Biden said he spoke with Xi after the Chinese leader met with Vladimir Putin during the winter Olympics in February. Russia invaded Ukraine not long after the said meeting, leading the West to respond with sanctions on Moscow.

Biden said the aim was not to threaten Xi but to warn of the consequences of aiding Russia and violating the sanctions that were imposed.

“I said, ‘If you think that Americans and others will continue to invest in China based on your violating the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia, I think you’re making a gigantic mistake. But that’s your decision to make,’” The US leader shared.

“Thus far, there’s no indication they’ve put forward weapons or other things that Russia has wanted,” Biden added.

Analysts say that China’s reliance on the West for trade would mean Beijing would not want to make any moves that would jeopardize its economy. Since the invasion, China has given Russia an economic lifeline, but the move to do so has also benefited Beijing as the country has positioned itself as an alternative market for Russian goods and as a major buyer of Russian fuel.

During Xi’s meeting with Putin, both leaders agreed that relations between Russia and China would not have any limits. However, during a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan, Putin said Xi raised questions and concerns over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Relations between China and the United States have also been under immense strain, especially over the island nation of Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory. Washington has expressed its opposition to China unilaterally trying to change the status quo.

The US leader touched on the issue, and in what would be a shift in the country’s policy on Taiwan, Biden said the US would defend the island nation should China decide to take the island through military means.

The US leader said that the US would defend Taiwan if China makes an unprecedented attack, echoing his comments at a news conference during his visit to Japan back in May.

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