A two-hour virtual meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, failed to yield progress on efforts to halt the war in Ukraine, while leaving relations between Washington and Beijing locked in a stalemate. A month into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration has proven unable to convince Beijing to end its diplomatic tap dance around the conflict. But Beijing views its long-term rivalry with Washington as its chief geopolitical concern, making it unlikely to abandon Moscow, its new strategic partner, over the war.
Xi spoke to Biden on Friday at the latter’s request, following a meeting in Rome between U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan and top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi earlier this month.
Prior to the video conference between the two leaders, many observers had hoped it could lead to a breakthrough regarding China’s stated neutrality in the conflict. “It’s time for Biden to build on his personal relationship with Xi to emphasize the upside potential of cooperating at this critical moment in world history,” Susan Shirk, a specialist of Chinese politics and former deputy assistant secretary of state, told Politico ahead of the meeting.