The White House did not immediately produce a readout of the video call between President Joe Biden and Chinese dictator Xi Jinping on Friday morning, but the Chinese Foreign Ministry produced a detailed account of the call immediately, publishing it within the hour through Chinese state media.

In China’s account of the call, Xi told Biden he could not expect any help from Beijing cleaning up the mess he made in Ukraine.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Biden told Xi the United States does not “seek a new Cold War with China” — a favorite talking point of the Chinese Communist Party.

Biden further assured Xi the U.S. does not seek to “change China’s system,” does not support “Taiwan independence,” and “has no intention to seek a conflict with China.” 

According to the Chinese readout, Biden repeated these pledges to Xi twice during the call. “I take these remarks very seriously,” Xi responded.

Biden said that instead of conflict, the United States wants “candid dialogue and closer cooperation” leading to “steady growth” in its relationship with Beijing.

“President Biden expressed readiness to stay in close touch with President Xi to set the direction for the U.S.-China relationship,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Xi proceeded to lecture Biden about the “predicament created by the previous U.S. administration,” especially the problem that “some people in the U.S. have sent a wrong signal to ‘Taiwan independence forces’” that is “very dangerous.”

China's President Xi Jinping (L) and US President Donald Trump attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

China’s President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017 (FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images).

Leaving it unclear if this was something Xi said to Biden or editorializing inserted by the Ministry, the Chinese Foreign Ministry wrote:

The direct cause for the current situation in the China-U.S. relationship is that some people on the U.S. side have not followed through on the important common understanding reached by the two Presidents and have not acted on President Biden’s positive statements. The U.S. has misperceived and miscalculated China’s strategic intention.

White House previews of the Biden-Xi call suggested Biden wanted to persuade China to join the European-led effort to isolate Russia for invading Ukraine. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Biden completely struck out in this endeavor. 

Instead, Xi told Biden that China wants peace in Ukraine but opposes U.S. and European sanctions against Russia. Xi implied the U.S. and NATO bear responsibility for sparking the Russia-Ukraine conflict and should, therefore, take responsibility for solving it. 

“He who tied the bell to the tiger must take it off,” Xi told Biden, using a Chinese aphorism of which he is reportedly fond.

Xi told Biden:

Sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions would only make the people suffer. If further escalated, they could trigger serious crises in global economy and trade, finance, energy, food, and industrial and supply chains, crippling the already languishing world economy and causing irrevocable losses.

“The more complex the situation, the greater the need to remain cool-headed and rational. Whatever the circumstances, there is always a need for political courage to create space for peace and leave room for political settlement,” he said.

Xi concluded:

An enduring solution would be for major countries to respect each other, reject the Cold War mentality, refrain from bloc confrontation, and build step by step a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture for the region and for the world. China has been doing its best for peace and will continue to play a constructive role.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying later described the video conference as “candid, in-depth, and constructive,” applauding President Biden for his willingness to “stay in close touch with President Xi to set the direction for the U.S.-China relationship.”

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences fellow Lu Xiang told the state-run Global Times that Xi asserted a leadership position over Biden in the call, sending an important message to America and her allies that conflict with China is irresponsible. 

Lu congratulated Xi for demonstrating that “some U.S. senior officials’ aggressive posturing toward China had never affected China’s own pace.” This was most likely a dismissive reference to national security adviser Jake Sullivan’s pressuring of senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi during a heated meeting in Rome this week during which he pushed for China to do more to combat the Russian invasion.

“I think the Friday talk is not only meaningful for the China-US relations, but also for the global geopolitical situation. The Chinese leader’s remarks showed countries closely following the U.S. in inciting a crisis what a responsible major power should do in facing with problems,” Lu said.

Lu also congratulated Xi for warning Biden to stop “playing with fire on the Taiwan question” and challenging China’s “core interests,” which in essence means warning the Biden administration to stop threatening China with reprisals if it decides to help Russia evade U.S. and European sanctions.

“The Ukraine crisis is already a headache for the U.S. and it will not like more confrontations with China. The U.S. and its politicians should abandon the fantasy that they could solve all problems by imposing sanctions or coercion as it is impossible to solve global problems, including political crises or economic issues without China and Russia,” Lu asserted.

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