Presidents Joe Biden and xi Jinping to hold first direct talks

United States President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, are due to hold their first direct talks since November, amid growing US concerns over Beijing’s relationship with Russia and its stance on the increasingly brutal war in Ukraine.

According to the white house, the talks come amid warnings from Washington that China may be considering providing military support to Russia.

In a briefing earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Biden would use the call to “make clear that China will bear responsibility for any actions it takes to support Russia’s aggression”, and there would be “costs” to such actions.

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”, he said.

While Western countries and allies have moved to impose tough sanctions on Russia over the invasion and condemned its aggression, China, which has a close relationship with Kyiv as well as with Moscow, has not.

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