UPDATED 7:40 AM PT – Friday, March 18, 2022
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki discussed an upcoming phone call with Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. She said Biden is planning to ask Xi whether he will continue supporting good relations with Russia.
On Thursday, Psaki told reporters the Biden administration is concerned about warming ties between Russia and China. Earlier this week, U.S. and Chinese diplomats held a seven-hour meeting in Rome, Italy after which China reasserted its commitment to a “rock solid” friendship with Russia.
“As we have made clear, our deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia and the potential implications and consequences of that,” Psaki stated. “So, the President will also share his assessment of that during the call, but I don’t have another an update for you on any internal assessment that is just how we are approaching or he is approaching the call tomorrow.”
The secretary further expressed concerns that China’s support for the Kremlin regime could be a pretext for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces to attack Ukraine with chemical or biological weapons, even though they deny such claims. Psaki reiterated if the two countries collectively threaten Ukraine, actions would be taken.
“It is a high concern, a significant concern given our Secretary of State just conveyed that and certainly our concerns about China assisting in any way Russia as they invade a foreign country is of significant concern,” she noted. “And would the response to that would be consequences.”
Asked what Biden plans to tell the Chinese if they continue to back Russia, Psaki says “it’s up to the Chinese to decide where they want to…be as the history books are written.” pic.twitter.com/DlmR0IhkJw
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 17, 2022
Meanwhile, Biden is set to speak with President Xi on Friday.