On Friday morning, President Joe Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping for over two hours on Russia's attack on Ukraine.
The call was considered as a key test of Biden's ability to persuade China to stay out of the Ukraine crisis and reject Russian requests for economic and military aid.
Both Biden and Xi agreed that peace must be promoted and that aid must be provided to those affected by the invasion's
humanitarian calamity. However, they were at odds over who was to blame for the suffering in Ukraine, with China's premier refusing to hold Russia solely responsible for the aggressive invasion.
Instead, official monitoring systems from Beijing made it apparent that Xi believed that NATO expansion into Eastern Europe had spurred Russian President Vladimir Putin into striking Ukraine.
Biden "explained the ramifications and consequences" of China providing material support to Russia during the call, according to the White House.
According to Pentagon sources, Moscow has sought Beijing for military and economic assistance in its campaign against Ukraine, and early intelligence reports indicate that China has agreed.
After the call on Friday, neither Chinese nor American authorities would say whether Biden had influenced Xi's views on Russia.
Biden's purpose, according to the White House, was never to obtain direct guarantees from Xi that China would not assist Russia, but rather to outline the options available to Beijing.
"The President really set out in a lot more detail the unified reaction to Russia's horrific assault in Ukraine, not only from governments around the world but also from the private sector," a senior government source told journalists on Friday afternoon.
According to the official, who spoke on the requested anonymity, Biden "made clear that there would likely be implications for anybody who would come in to support Russia at this time."
According to a transcript of the call provided by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Xi informed Biden that both the US and China had a duty to promote peace in Ukraine.
"We don't want to see the Ukraine problem," Xi is claimed to have told Biden.
Instead, Xi proposed that Europe and the US compel Putin's hand, echoing a favourite talking point of Moscow's.
According to a lengthy summary of the call issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Xi told Biden, "He who attached the bell to the tiger must take it off."
The Chinese proverb, which Xi has previously used, suggests that whomever caused the problem must also solve it. Putin is the tiger in Xi's eyes, and NATO is the bell.
But for the time being, "Keep the communication and negotiation going," Xi said to Biden, "avoid civilian losses, prevent a humanitarian crisis, and halt hostilities as soon as possible."
Both Russian and Chinese government spokespeople have openly denied that Russia has approached China for assistance in conducting its war against Ukraine.
However, as a result of the extraordinary economic sanctions put on Russia by NATO members and the G-7 in response to the invasion, the Kremlin has become isolated and, according to some observers, eager for financial aid and military supplies.
China appears to be receptive to supplying Russia with military equipment, according to defence officials, but there are few signs that Beijing will explicitly assist Moscow in evading economic sanctions.