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James Stavridis

Xi and Biden Send Putin a Warning on Nuclear Threats

Russian diplomats have been quietly walking back their president’s alarming comments, and it doesn’t seem a coincidence.

Taming the tsar?

Taming the tsar?

Photographer: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

In the wake of Monday’s private meeting in Bali between US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, analysts have been examining official summaries of the three-hour session for clues about Russia and the war in Ukraine. While disagreements over Taiwan, human rights, technology bans, cyber operations and trade disputes were all reportedly discussed, there was marked agreement between the two leaders on one critical point.    

According to a White House readout of the meeting, “President Biden and President Xi reiterated their agreement that a nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won, and underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.”