The United States warned that China would cross a “red line” if it decided to supply lethal military support to Russia, including weapons and ammunition, to help in its war against Ukraine.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, made the comments on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Feb. 19.
“We welcome the Chinese announcement that they want peace because that’s what we always want to pursue in situations like this. But 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 is unacceptable,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
Her comments came after Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a similar warning in an interview with CBS News and just days ahead of the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor.
They also come after reports recently surfaced that Chinese companies have been providing surveillance equipment to Russia’s Wagner Group fighting in Ukraine.
In January, the U.S. sanctioned Chinese satellite manufacturer, Spacety, or Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute Co. Ltd., for allegedly supplying satellite imagery to Russia “in order to enable Wagner combat operations in Ukraine.”
When asked if the Biden administration considers this to be providing military support to Russia, Blinken told CBS News that the government has “been concerned from day one about that possibility.”
China Won’t Accept ‘Finger Pointing’
He went on to note that President Joe Biden had held talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping within the early days of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine during which Biden had shared the U.S. government’s “deep concerns about the possibility that China would provide lethal support to Russia in this effort as well as engage in the systematic evasion of sanctions.”
Blinken noted that the reason behind Biden’s concern was that in the weeks leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Xi had released a joint statement declaring a partnership with “no limits” in what appeared to be a show of solidarity amid increasing pressure from the West.
“We’ve been watching this very closely,” Blinken said. “To date, we have seen Chinese companies—and of course, in China, there’s really no distinction between private companies and the state—we have seen them provide non-lethal support to Russia for use in Ukraine.”
“The concern that we have now is, based on the information that we have, that they are considering providing lethal support, and we’ve made very clear to them that that would cause a serious problem for us and in our relationship,” he added, without providing further details as to exactly what information the government has obtained.
Blinke clarified that “lethal support” is determined primarily as weapons.
“There’s a whole gamut of things that—that fit in that category, everything from ammunition to the weapons themselves,” he said.
China, an ally of Russia that has refused to condemn Putin’s actions in Ukraine and has criticized Western sanctions on Moscow, has denied that it is sending weapons or ammunition to Moscow.
In a statement on Feb. 19, China’s foreign ministry said it would not accept “finger-pointing” or “coercion” from the United States over its relations with Russia.
Kremlin Says NATO Is ‘Hostile’
“The U.S., as a major country, has every reason to work for a political settlement of the crisis instead of fanning the flames or profiting from it,” China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, said, according to the statement.
“Wang Yi stressed that on the Ukraine issue, China stands by principles. China is committed to promoting peace talks and has played a constructive role. The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is built on the basis of non-alliance, non-confrontation, and non-targeting of third countries, which is within the sovereign right of any two independent states,” the statement added.
Blinken’s comments came shortly after he met with Wang Yi at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.
During that conference, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that Beijing “is watching closely” to see “the price Russia pays, or the reward it receives for its aggression.”
Days earlier, Stoltenberg had called on more allied nations to boost ammunition supplies, including weapons and equipment to Kyiv amid a new Russian offensive.
In retaliation to his comments, the Kremlin accused NATO of being an organization that is “hostile” toward Russia and that is “trying its best to make its involvement in the conflict around Ukraine as clear as possible.”
Xi Jinping is expected to deliver a “peace speech” on the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, according to reports.
From The Epoch Times