The Biden administration has threatened consequences for China if it provides military support to Russia, but won’t disclose what exactly China would suffer.
China has denied it is considering weapons and ammunition transfers to Russia, attempting to position itself as a neutral mediator, according to media reports. However, the U.S. has information Chinese authorities may be considering providing direct military support to Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on a CBS News clip released Saturday.
“We have made very clear to China that providing lethal weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine or systematically aiding sanctions evasion would cause real consequences in our relationship with China. We’re not going to lay out what the consequences would be,” a State Department spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Secretary Of State Blinken Postpones China Trip Over Spy Balloon Rift)
“China understands what’s at risk were it to proceed with providing material support of that kind to Russia. And it would cause a real problem for China in its relationships with many other countries, not just the United States,” the spokesperson added.
American officials shared “disturbing” trends in Chinese involvement in Russia’s war effort with allies, CNN reported Saturday. Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield voiced similar concerns and threatened consequences for Beijing if it follows through, the outlet reported.
“We also have to be clear that if there are any thoughts and efforts by the Chinese and others to provide lethal support to the Russians in their brutal attack against Ukraine, that that is unacceptable,” Thomas-Greenfield told CNN. “That would be a red line.”
“Looking ahead, any steps by China to provide lethal support to Russia would only reward aggression, continue the killing, and further undermine a rules-based order,” Harris told the audience at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, according to CNN.
When Russia invaded – it wasn’t just Ukraine being tested. Democracies across the globe faced a question.
Would we respond? Or look the other way?
One year later, we know the answer. We would respond – strong and united. pic.twitter.com/msR2Dl6Zcy
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 22, 2023
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang expressed alarm that the conflict in Ukraine is “intensifying and even getting out of control,” AFP reported. China would work to reach a peaceful settlement to the war, the diplomat added.
Beijing has avoided endorsing Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and officials told CNN the hesitance to provide military assistance could stem from a desire not to further alienate China from the rest of the world.
However, the U.S. believes China has scaled up technical and economic assistance to Russia since the beginning of the war and fears more robust military assistance, including weapons and ammunition, could come in the future.
“To date, we have seen Chinese companies – and, of course, in China there is really no distinction between private companies and the state – we have seen them provide non-lethal support to … Russia for use in the Ukraine,” Blinken told CBS News.
Other non-lethal support could include flack jackets and helmets, CNN reported, citing multiple U.S. and European sources close to the intelligence.
China previously declared an unlimited partnership with Russia just before the invasion in early 2022.
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