US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that China knows its economic future is tied to the West, after warning Chinese leader Xi Jinping that Beijing could regret siding with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I made no threats but I made it clear to him – made sure he understood the consequences of helping Russia,” Biden told reporters of his call on Friday with Xi.
“I pointed out the number of American and foreign corporations that left Russia as a consequence of their barbaric behaviour.”
The Biden administration has been pressuring China to refrain from supporting Russia, including by helping it counter Western sanctions and providing military assistance.
China has not condemned Russia’s action in Ukraine, though it has expressed deep concern about the war as well as about Western sanctions, which it regards as counter-productive and unilateral.
Biden’s comments pointed to the economic interdependence of China and the US, its largest trading partner.
That is leverage Washington wants to use to nudge China away from Russia after the two countries touted a “no limits” strategic partnership in February.
But any sanctions or other counter-measures against Beijing would have spillover effects for the US economy, too, experts say.
Still, there are already signs that the Sino-Russian relationship may be hurting foreign investment in China.
There have been significant capital flows from the country since Russia’s February24 invasion of Ukraine, according to the Institute of International Finance.
“China understands that its economic future is much more closely tied to the West than it is to Russia,” Biden told a news conference on the sidelines of emergency meetings in Europe about the Ukraine war.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell