US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that China is considering providing Russia with arms and ammunition for the conflict in Ukraine.
According to Mr. Blinken, Chinese businesses are already offering “non-lethal support” to Russia, and fresh data suggests Beijing may do the same.
He warned that this escalation would have “severe ramifications” for China.
China has refuted claims that Russia has asked for military hardware.
Although he has yet to denounce Russia’s invasion, Chinese President Xi Jinping, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has appealed for peace and sought to maintain neutrality in the war.
China’s foreign ministry declared that it will not submit to American “coercion” or “finger-pointing” on its relations with Russia.
Following his Saturday encounter with Wang Yi, China’s senior diplomat, at the Munich Security Conference, Mr. Blinken spoke with the associated press.
He said that he was “very worried” about the “possibility that China will send fatal material support to Russia” during the conference.
“China businesses have so far helped Moscow with non-lethal assistance for use in Ukraine. We’re worried right now because they might be considering offering fatal support, according to the information we have “he stated.
He didn’t go into detail regarding the specific intelligence the US had about China’s prospective plans. When questioned about what the US thought China might contribute to Russia, he responded that it would mostly be weapons and ammunition.
The Wagner Group, a mercenary organization that provides Russia with hundreds of men, is accused of receiving satellite footage of Ukraine from a Chinese corporation, for which the US has imposed sanctions.
“Of course, there’s no separation between private firms and the state in China,” Mr. Blinken told the associated press.
He added that it would be a “major difficulty for us and in our relationship” if China gave Russia weapons.
As a result of the US shooting down an alleged Chinese surveillance balloon in early February, relations between Washington and Beijing were already tense. Notwithstanding the heated remarks that were said, both parties appeared ashamed of the situation and eager to move on.
Yet, relations between the US and China would worsen significantly if Beijing provided weaponry to support Russian soldiers in Ukraine.
The purpose of Mr. Blinken’s warning appears to be to prevent China from taking that action.
Also, Mr. Blinken stated that the US was concerned about China assisting Russia in evading Western sanctions intended to harm Russia’s economy. Russia’s largest market for its oil, gas, and coal is China, where bilateral commerce has increased.
Tanks are among the weaponry, ammunition, and equipment being sent to Ukraine by NATO members, including the US. They have refrained from deploying fighter jets, and Mr. Blinken declined to comment on whether the US would assist other nations in providing jets.
He declared, “We have been very clear that we should not fixate or focus on any one weapons system.”
Nevertheless, he said that the West needed to make sure Ukraine had the resources it would need “in the months ahead” for a future counteroffensive against Russia. In the eastern parts of Ukraine, where some of the war’s hardest combat has occurred, Russia is currently attempting to push.
According to the associated press, Mr. Wang claimed on Saturday in Munich that China has “neither stood by silently nor thrown fuel on the fire” for the Ukraine war.
Wang indicated that China would publish a text outlining its stance on resolving the conflict. According to him, the declaration will stipulate that every country’s geographical integrity must be respected.
I recommend that everyone begin to consider our options for putting an end to this war quietly, especially our friends in Europe, Mr. Wang added.
Without identifying the individuals he was referring to, he said, “Those forces that seem to not want discussions to succeed, or for the war to end soon.”
According to Antonio Tajani, the foreign minister of Italy, on February 24th, the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Xi, the president of China, is set to give a “peace address.”
Per the associated press, Mr. Tajani informed Italian radio that Mr. Xi will appeal for peace without criticizing Russia in his remarks.
Mr. Blinken and Mr. Wang also had a heated discussion over the ongoing dispute over the allegedly Chinese surveillance balloon that was shot down over the US during their meeting.
The US will not “stand for any infringement of our sovereignty,” according to Mr. Blinken, who also stated that “this irresponsible behavior must never again occur.”
According to Mr. Blinken, other countries were concerned about what he called China’s “surveillance balloon program” across five continents, according to the associated press.
The incident, according to Mr. Wang, was a “political farce fabricated by the US,” who he charged with “using all available methods to hinder and suppress China.” Sending a spy balloon has been denied by China.
Moreover, China issued a warning on Sunday morning, saying that if the US exacerbated the dispute over the balloon, it would “carry all the repercussions.” In the event “the US insists on taking advantage of the matter,” China stated in a statement from its foreign ministry, as quoted by the associated press, it would “follow through to the finish.”