USA President Joe Biden will speak to China's Xi Jinping on Friday, the White House announced Thursday morning, the two leaders' first call since Russia invaded Ukraine.
The White House said that the two leaders "will discuss managing our countries as well as Russia's war against Ukraine and other issues of mutual concern."
Russia has aligned itself with China, and Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin reinforced their nations' ties during the Winter Olympics in Beijing just before Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
"This is part of our ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication between the United States and the PRC," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
A Western official and a US diplomat told CNN earlier this week that the US has information suggesting China has expressed some openness to providing Russia with requested military and financial assistance as part of its war on Ukraine, a claim the other two countries deny, reports CNN.
It is not yet clear whether China intends to provide Russia with that assistance, US officials familiar with the intelligence tell CNN. But during an intense, seven-hour meeting in Rome, a top aide to Biden 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 — though none were expected ahead of time — and officials dismissed the notion the summit was intended to ease what has become an increasingly tense relationship.