In a virtual meeting on Friday, March 18, the U.S. discussed its knowledge of Russia’s request for material support from China, sending stern warnings to the Chinese government.

Commenting on the readout of the 2-hour meeting by Xinhua News Agency, Maria Repnikova, an associate professor of global communications at Georgia State University, believed that “no major change in tone on China policy on Ukraine is notable.”

According to Repnikova’s summary of China’s interpretation of the talk, the U.S. and NATO were responsible for the Ukraine war. Russia was not directly nor exclusively held accountable. China believes the resolution involves NATO and the U.S. negotiating with Russia, whereas Ukraine is sidelined.

She said humanitarian aid to Ukraine was mentioned, but there was no address for Beijing’s military aid to Russia.

Repnikova continued, “What struck me is the key concern and emphasis on economic flows and stability and a determined critique of sanctions as threatening global economic order and hurting ordinary people.”

The scholar concluded, “Overall, no renewed role for China in ending this crisis is emphasized. China supports dialogue and peaceful resolution, but doesn’t appear to (so far) position itself at the center of this dialogue.”

China’s version of the event described the call as “constructive” – a word the White House did not use. The U.S. ‘s readout of the meeting was confined with details, stating that Biden clarified the “implications and consequences” if China aligns with Russia and provides “material support” for its attacks.

The White House on March 17 said the talk would be the U.S.’s “ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication” with China about helping Russia in the Ukraine war.

Speaking about the meeting, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “China has to make a decision for themselves on where they want to stand and how they want the history books to look at them and view their actions. That is a decision for President Xi to make.”

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