Biden-Xi and the phone call on Ukraine: “A conflict between states is in nobody’s interest”. But Beijing expects the first move from Washington

First news on the long telephone conversation between the US president and the Chinese head of state: “United States and China have international responsibilities to make efforts for peace and tranquility in the world”

WASHINGTON – The first news on the phone call between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping
. Today, Friday 18 February, the two leaders spoke for a long time: from 9.03 to 10.53, reports the pool of reporters following the White House. Almost two hours. Is this a good sign? Some progress has probably been made. But let’s try to decipher the signals. First of all the first to come out were the Chinese. Americans are usually the fastest. Chinese state television reported that Xi Jinping pointed out how «A conflict and a clash between states is in nobody’s interest“. A sentence that seems to be addressed more to Putin than to Biden. At the same time, the president of the Dragon observed that “the United States and China have international responsibilities to make efforts for peace and tranquility in the world”. Read like this, this seems to be the announcement of a willingness to participate in the negotiation, or rather to intervene to persuade Putin to deal seriously. But perhaps the key passage is another: “China encourages the United States and NATO to dialogue with Russia”. As if to say: it’s up to you, not me, to make the first move.

We will see shortly, therefore, to what extent the phone call was really productive. On Monday, March 14, National Security Advisor Jack Sullivan and his counterpart Yang Jeichi met for a full seven hours in Rome. And as he says to the Courier service General Keith Kellogg, former Interim National Security Advisor in the Trump government, “too long an interview can also mean that a common grammar cannot be found; we keep going around in circles around problems. I have often had this problem with the Chinese ”.

At the moment, therefore, the most quoted hypothesis is that Xi Jinping has loosely distanced himself from Putin’s criminal bombings, but is still reluctant to engage himself in the negotiations. We now await the reactions of the White House. Skepticism prevailed on the eve. The Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on Thursday 17, said: “China must decide which side to take, but it does not seem to be going in the right direction.”

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