Biden to talk to China's Xi Jinping amid questions about his support for Russia in Ukraine invasion

The call arrives as China indicates it may be willing to assist Russia's military aid requests.

Updated: March 18, 2022 - 11:03am

President Biden will speak Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping amid reports China is considering military and financial assistance to Russia as it invades neighboring Ukraine.

The talk scheduled for 9 a.m. Eastern Time and is the first known conversation in months between the world leaders.

Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin met during the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing and issued a joint statement opposing what they considered attempts at Western-nation expansion through the North Atlantic Trade Organization. That argument has also been Putin's pretense for the Russia invasion.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki in announced the meeting Thursday said that Biden and Xi, who have the world's biggest and second-biggest economy, respectively, would discuss the global economy, in addition to Russia's "war" against Ukraine.

"This is part of our ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication" between the United States and the People's Republic of China," she told reporters. "The two leaders will discuss managing the competition between our two countries as well as Russia's war against Ukraine and other issues of mutual concern."

The call follows a a lengthy meeting in Rome recently between national security advisor Jake Sullivan and top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi.

Sullivan during the meeting purportedly warned Yang of the "potential implications and consequences" for China, should it opt to support Russia's invasion.

Some of Russia's requests to China, such as non-perishable military food kits, emphasize the basic logistical and supply issues that the Russian military is facing.

Biden will travel next week to Brussels to participate in a NATO summit centered on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He will also join a European Council meeting.