The United States has delivered a clear warning to China: do not supply Russia with weapons for its war in Ukraine.
U.S. officials raised concerns that China might be considering helping Russia in its war efforts in meetings late last year and again in 2023, according to officials, as per The Wall Street Journal.
Last weekend, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed publicly that Washington had information that Beijing was considering supporting Moscow through weapon sales, the WSJ reported.
“We’ve made very clear to them that that would cause a serious problem for us and in our relationship,” Blinken said, following a meeting with China’s top foreign-policy official, Wang Yi, at the Munich Security Conference, according to the WSJ.
“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 is unacceptable,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told CNN.
Thomas-Greenfield warned that China would be crossing a “red line” if it provided deadly military aid to Russia, per CNN.
“The president has said we see China as the adversary it is. We are prepared to compete with the Chinese, and we are [prepared], when necessary, to confront the Chinese. And that’s what we’re doing. And that’s what we will continue to do to ensure that our national interests are always at the forefront,” she said, according to CNN.
The comments came ahead of Wang’s arrival in Moscow on Monday, while President Biden visited Poland following his trip to Ukraine, CNN reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to speak at Russia’s Federal Council on Tuesday, according to The Guardian.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told ABC News on Sunday, “The most catastrophic thing that could happen to [the] U.S-China relationship, in my opinion, is for China…to start to give lethal weapons to Putin in this crime against humanity.”
Graham added that China providing aid to Russia “would be like buying a ticket on the Titanic after you saw the movie,” according to ABC News.
China has provided economic and diplomatic support for Moscow by buying Russian oil and claiming the U.S. and NATO created the conditions that prompted the Russian invasion, according to the WSJ.
Beijing has rejected claims that it is aiding Russia in its war efforts, instead saying Chinese companies are conducting normal trade with the country, the WSJ reported.
A review of Russian customs data by The Wall Street Journal reportedly found that China is already providing Moscow with technology by supplying goods that have both civilian and military uses while averting sanctions and export controls, according to the outlet.
China has provided shipping navigation equipment, jamming technology, and jet-fighter parts to sanctioned Russian government-owned defense companies, according to Reuters.
Russia also appears to be continuing its use of unmanned Chinese drones in its fight with Ukraine, per a report from the WSJ.
Meanwhile, the West continues to support Ukraine, with Kyiv recently lobbying for Western tanks, jet fighters, and ammunition, which are being used faster than its Western allies can supply, the WSJ reported.