Xi tells Biden Ukraine war should end

STORY: U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke for nearly two hours Friday morning in a video call where the White House said the two world leaders discussed Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Chinese state media said Xi underlined that such conflicts were in no-one's interest.

The call comes amid U.S. warnings that Moscow had asked Beijing for military and economic assistance as the war drags on and sanctions cripple the Russian economy.

Russia denies making the request and China said the reports were false.

Beijing has so far declined to criticize the Kremlin over the invasion. China and Russia last month announced a new strategic partnership, and Washington is worried that China could help Russia circumvent economic sanctions.

But the fighting may have forced China into something of a balancing act.

"Well, what we have observed the so far it seems to be China's position has shifted from initial indifference leaning towards more showing sympathy towards Ukraine without openly denouncing Moscow."

Yu Jie is a senior research fellow focusing on China at London's Chatham House.

"So China is really hoping out of this crisis they'll be able to maintain that fine balance. But however, the fine balance will be very difficult for Beijing to maintain anyway, at the end of day, that Beijing because bogged down by the international pressure that Beijing will have to show some stance on it to show its capability as being a responsible power in this case."."

The fighting in Ukraine has added a new front in a U.S.-Chinese relationship already at its worst level in decades.

Just before the phone call, China sailed an aircraft carrier through the sensitive Taiwan Strait - shadowed by a U.S. Navy destroyer.