CIA Director William Burns is “confident” about U.S. intelligence showing China is considering sending Russia weapons to support their invasion of Ukraine.
Burns was interviewed by CBS Host Margaret Brennan for the network’s Sunday show, “Face the Nation.” She questioned him about intelligence reports indicating China is considering assisting Russia in its war against Ukraine by shipping them weapons. (RELATED: Zelenskyy Willing To ‘Work With China’ On Elements Of Peace Plan Proposed By Beijing)
“You know, and as Secretary Blinken has said, publicly, you know, we have begun to see- we have begun to collect intelligence suggesting that China is considering the provision of lethal equipment,” Burns said. “That’s not to suggest that they’ve made a definitive conclusion about this, that they’re actually begun to provide lethal equipment, but it’s obviously something that we take very seriously and watch very carefully.”
Brennan pressed Burns about the intelligence Secretary of State Blinken has on China’s deliberations. “But picking up information over the last couple of months to thinking they’re actively considering it- I mean, how confident are you in the intelligence that this is something Xi Jinping himself may change his mind about?”
“Well, we’re confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment. We also don’t see that a final decision has been made yet, and we don’t see evidence of actual shipments of lethal equipment,” Burns responded.
Burns said Blinken publicized the intelligence to deter China from supporting Russia against Ukraine. He told CBS it would be a “risky and unwise bet” for China and “I hope very much that they don’t,” because it would worsen China’s tense relationship with the United States.
Brennan asked him about how China could benefit from prolonging the war between Ukraine and Russia. “Do you think that Beijing benefits from having the West distracted and involved in a prolonged conflict in Europe?”
“It’s conceivable, but I think, there’s no foreign leader who’s watched more carefully Vladimir Putin’s experience in Ukraine, the evolution of the war, than Xi Jinping has,” Burns said.
Russia’s war against Ukraine began its second year on Friday. The U.S. announced a $2 billion weapons package for Ukraine to commemorate the war’s one-year anniversary, following President Biden’s President’s Day visit to Kyiv.