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Biden to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday

The announcement from White House press secretary Jen Psaki comes days after a US diplomatic cable suggested China has expressed some openness to providing Russia with requested military and financial assistance as part of its war on Ukraine. It is not yet clear whether China intends to provide Russia with that assistance, US officials familiar with the intelligence told CNN earlier this week.

“This is part of our ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication between the United States and the PRC,” Psaki said, using the abbreviation for the People’s Republic of China. “The two Leaders will discuss managing the competition between our two countries as well as Russia’s war against Ukraine and other issues of mutual concern.”

The announcement of the call comes after an intense, seven-hour meeting in Rome, between Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan and top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi. During the meeting, Sullivan warned his Chinese counterpart of “potential implications and consequences” for China should support for Russia be forthcoming, a senior administration official said.

Biden and Xi’s last known conversation took place in November during a three-and-a-half hour virtual summit. The highly anticipated summit yielded no major breakthroughs — none were expected ahead of time — and officials dismissed the notion the summit was intended to ease what has become an increasingly tense relationship.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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