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On Friday evening, the presidents of the United States and China, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, spoke on the phone for nearly two hours, discussing the war in Ukraine, among other things. The phone call between the two, the first since the beginning of the Russian invasion, was rather expected, because China is currently the only world power capable of exerting some influence on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
However, the hopes that China can intervene to favor a diplomatic solution to the conflict are blocked for now: the phone call between Biden and Xi has not produced appreciable results, and indeed has shown how the positions between China and the West are still very distant on the issue. Ukraine. At present, it is very difficult for China to expose itself and jeopardize its relations with Russia to end the war.
The difference between the positions was seen quite clearly in the communications following the phone call. The White House published a press release almost entirely devoted to the war in Ukraine, in which Biden is said to “have described the implications and consequences if China will provide material support to Russia while conducting brutal attacks on Ukrainian cities and civilians.” For several days, US intelligence has been arguing that China could decide to provide Russia with financial and even military aid.
The Chinese version of the call, on the other hand, is very different: on the news agency Xinhua we talk of a “frank” conversation, in which the question of Ukraine is only one of the many points on the agenda. For most of the communiqué we talk about Taiwan, and when it arrives in Ukraine the communiqué mainly reports circumstantial phrases, without ever describing what is happening in the country as “war” or “invasion”, in line with Russian propaganda.