China's Xi Jinping's Future With West, Not Russia, Putin: State Department

Chinese President Xi Jinping's future is with Western nations, such as the U.S. and "not with Russia and Vladimir Putin," U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Friday.

While appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Sherman spoke about China's response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Asian nation's relations with the U.S.

"We are all very candid, very direct about what has to happen here, what great powers must do, what the responsibility is of Xi Jinping if he wants to be a true leader on the world stage, if he wants to sign up to the principles of the U.N. Charter, which he says he does," Sherman said. "So we will see whether, in fact, Xi Jinping makes the right choice here. His future is with the United States, with Europe, with developing countries around the world. His future is not with Russia and Vladimir Putin."

The comments by Sherman come ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden's call with Xi scheduled for Friday. A statement from the White House said that Biden and Xi plan to discuss "Russia's war against Ukraine and other issues of mutual concern," as well as the relationship between China and Russia.

Amid the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the U.S. and other Western nations, including NATO, have called on China to condemn Russia.

During a press conference on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the U.S. believes "China, in particular, has a responsibility to use its influence with President Putin and to defend the international rules and principles that it professes to support."

However, Blinken said that "it appears that China is moving in the opposite direction by refusing to condemn this aggression while seeking to portray itself as a neutral arbiter."

As Blinken said, China has yet to take a concrete stance on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The Global Times, a Chinese state-run news outlet, recently wrote in an op-ed that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is a "difficult problem to solve."

"In this context, portraying their military conflict as good versus evil is not rational and detrimental to address it," the Global Times wrote.

During an interview on Friday morning, Sherman made similar comments on China's relationship with Russia and Putin.

"China needs to stand on the right side of history," Sherman said. "Their future is not to stand with Vladimir Putin."

Newsweek reached out to the Chinese Foreign Ministry for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Wendy Sherman
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Friday that China's future is with the West and not with Russia or Russian President Vladimir Putin. Above, Sherman is seen at a press conference following a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on January 12, 2022. John Thys/Getty