Joe Biden has warned Chinese President Xi Jinping about his closeness with Putin (Picture: Getty)
U.S. President Joe Biden told Xi Jinping to ‘be careful’ after the Chinese President met with Russia’s Vladimir Putin because Beijing is heavily reliant on Western investment.
‘This is not a threat. This is an observation,’ Biden told CNN. ‘Since Russia went into Ukraine, 600 American corporations have pulled out of Russia. And you have told me that your economy depends on investment from Europe and the United States. Be careful,’ he added.
Putin and Xi held two days of talks in March with warm words of friendship between China and Russia and joint criticism of the West, but no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough over Ukraine.
The pair also participated in a virtual summit earlier this week.
Xi has previously referred to Putin as his ‘closest, most intimate friend (Picture: Reuters)
Tensions and pessimism in the U.S.-China relationship have heightened in recent years over national security issues such as Taiwan, Russia’s war in Ukraine, growing U.S. export bans on advanced technologies and China’s state-led industrial policies.
Xi’s closeness with the Russian president has been a repeated source of friction between east-west relations, with the Chinese premier once calling Putin his ‘best, most intimate friend.’
‘No matter what fluctuations there are in the international situation, China and Russia have always firmly taken the development of relations as a priority,’ he added.
Xi has stuck to those words, even after Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine. Less than three weeks before launching the ‘special military operation’, Putin visited Beijing and signed what China once referred to as a ‘no limits’ partnership.
Chinese officials have since steered clear of criticizing Russia — following the Kremlin’s lead in refusing to call it a war — while echoing Putin’s narrative that NATO expansion was to blame.
Meanwhile, U.S Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told an audience in Beijing that Washington and China must compete fairly and communicate closely to avoid misunderstandings.
Despite talk of U.S.-China economic decoupling, recent data show a trade relationship between the two nations is fundamentally solid, with two-way trade hitting $690 billion last year.
Yellen repeated her mantra that Washington is not seeking a winner-take-all approach or economic advantage in its relations with China, but wanted to ensure a healthy competition with a ‘fair set of rules’ that would benefit both countries over time.
The United States would continue to communicate directly its concerns about specific economic practices, and would take targeted actions to protect its national security, Yellen said.
She urged China not to allow any disagreements to ‘lead to misunderstandings, particularly those stemming from a lack of communication, which can unnecessarily worsen our bilateral economic and financial relationship.’
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