The pair will address the Russia-Ukraine war, competition between China and the U.S. and other topics, the White House said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the call is part on the Biden administration’s “ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication” between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
China has yet to condemn the invasion, though an official praised the Ukrainian people on Wednesday.
“We will always respect your state, we will develop relations on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. We will respect the path chosen by Ukrainians, because this is the sovereign right of every nation,” China’s ambassador to Ukraine, Fan Xiangong, who relocated with the Chinese embassy from Kyiv to Lviv after Russian forces invaded on Feb. 24, told Lviv officials on Monday, according to the Lviv regional government.
“In this situation, which you have now, we will act responsibly. We have seen how great the unity of the Ukrainian people is, and that means its strength,” Fan added.
German news outlet BILD reported that Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov was halfway to Beijing Wednesday night when his plane turned around abruptly and returned to Moscow. It’s unclear if Putin called him back or if Chinese abruptly canceled any planned meeting. Fox News has not yet independently verified the report.
Friday’s call will be the fourth engagement between the U.S. and Chinese presidents since Biden took office.
Biden and Xi last spoke during a virtual meeting on Nov. 15. Senior administration officials told Fox News did not explicitly discuss the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic Xi, but instead maintained the importance of “transparency” in global health matters, focusing on “broader health security issues” in an effort to bring “an end” to the pandemic.
U.S. officials have claimed that Russia has sought military and economic aid from China. The Kremlin has denied reports claiming they made the request, and China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian dismissed allegations China agreed to send such aid to Russia as “misinformation.” He maintained that China remains “completely objective, impartial and constructive,” on the “Ukraine issue,” refusing to call the conflict a “war.”
Zhao has also repeated the Russian line about U.S.-backed Ukrainian laboratories near the border creating bioweapons – claims Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department have all unequivocally denied. Zelenskyy delivered an address to Congress Wednesday during which he showed a video demonstrating the death and destruction suffered by Ukrainian civilians, especially women, children and the elderly as Russian troops have bombarded cities and advanced toward the capital of Kyiv in the three weeks since the invasion began.
In response, Biden announced an additional $800 million in military aid for Ukraine on Wednesday, amounting to a total of $1 billion in U.S. aid allocated since Saturday.
The new package includes 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems; 2,000 Javelins, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons and 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems; 100 unmanned drones; 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, and 400 shotguns; more than 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds; 25,000 sets of body armor; and 25,000 helmets. The equipment will be transferred directly from the Department of Defense to the Ukrainian military, Biden said.
Speaking at his daily press conference Thursday, Zhao said China has sent humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, blaming the United States, instead of Russian President Vladimir Putin, for bloodshed happening in Ukraine.
Confronted directly over Ukrainian civilian casualties, Zhao deflected, asking: “I wonder if you were equally concerned about the people in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Palestine?”
He said the true “culprits of the crisis” in Ukraine were the U.S. and NATO.
“It is those countries that delude themselves into thinking that they can lord it over the world after winning the Cold War, those that keep driving NATO’s eastward expansion five times in disregard of other countries’ security concerns, and those that wage wars across the globe while accusing other countries of being belligerent, that should really feel ‘uncomfortable’,” he told reporters Thursday.
“The key to solving the Ukraine crisis is in the hands of the US and NATO,” Zhao said. “We hope the US and NATO, the culprits of the crisis, can reflect upon their roles in the Ukraine crisis.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Paul Best contributed to this report.
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