US President Joe Biden will have a talk with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Friday to discuss US-China relations, as well as the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, the White House announced on Thursday.

“This is part of our ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication between the United States and the PRC,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

“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,” she added, elaborating on the agenda of the talk.

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The White House’s announcement comes days after CNN, citing US diplomats, reported that China had expressed some openness to providing military and financial assistance to Russia to aid Moscow in the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Assistance from China would be invaluable to Russia and would Moscow soften the Ukrainian resistance, as well as the impacts of harsh sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West.

That being said, it is unclear whether China actually intends to help Russia, CNN reported citing US intelligence officials.

While the US has imposed sanction after sanction on Russia since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and provided arms to Ukraine, China has thus far refrained from calling Russian military operations an “invasion.”

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Washington and Beijing’s opposing responses to the war in Ukraine perhaps symbolise the rift between the two countries, whose relationship has become increasingly tense of late.

The scheduled talk between the two heads of state will be their first discussion in months.

The two leaders had last spoken in November 2021 in a three-and-a-half hour virtual summit. Although highly anticipated, the summit led to no breakthroughs.