- The Washington Times - Monday, March 10, 2014

President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China spoke on the phone Sunday night and agreed on the importance of “identifying a peaceful resolution to the dispute between Russia and Ukraine,” according to the White House.

The call comes as Russian troops have ramped up their presence in the strategic region of Crimea, which will vote Sunday whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. In spite of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression, the White House still believes a diplomatic resolution is possible.

Mr. Xi agrees. He reportedly told Mr. Obama to exercise restraint and avoid escalation that could lead to further violence.

“Political and diplomatic routes must be used to resolve the crisis,” he told Mr. Obama, according to statements released by China’s Foreign Ministry.

Mr. Obama’s conversation with Mr. Xi is the latest in a flurry of phone calls made by the U.S. president as he tries to rally the international community and isolate Russia.

While vacationing in Florida over the weekend, Mr. Obama also spoke with British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Latvian President Andris Berzins and others.

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