In an interview with CBS News last week, US State Secretary Antony Blinken stated that US intelligence believes China might give Russia “lethal aid”, including “anything from ammo to the weapons themselves.”
As French President Emmanuel Macron announced that he will visit Beijing in April, the United States cautioned China that providing armaments to help Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would have significant repercussions, Euractiv reported.
Beijing is reportedly considering delivering deadly technology, maybe even drones, for Russia’s war, while Washington and its NATO partners are frantically trying to discourage Beijing from doing so.
Fears in the West about China arming Russia come as Kyiv gears up for a counteroffensive with cutting-edge Western equipment, including battle tanks, and Moscow’s forces struggle to push near strategic targets in eastern Ukraine.
US President Joseph Biden stated on Friday that if China were to give Russia deadly weapons for its conflict with Ukraine, the US “would retaliate.”
When the ABC presenter questioned him about “severe repercussions,” he responded:
“I’ll let you characterize what they would be. We would respond, and Biden stated that we would react”
China has consistently declined to denounce Moscow’s war on Ukraine, most notably on Saturday during a G20 summit in Mumbai (25 February). On Friday, the year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it released a cease-fire plan, but the offer was welcomed with suspicion by Ukraine’s Western partners.
Biden said that it was “simply not sensible” for China to negotiate the result of a conflict that was completely unfair to Ukraine.
Beijing will have to decide for itself how to proceed and whether to offer military support, but if it chooses to do so, China will pay a price, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
While China had not advanced in offering that assistance, it had also not ruled out the possibility, according to Sullivan in a separate interview with ABC’s “This Week” program.
“When I hear reports – and I don’t know whether they are true – according to which China may be planning to supply kamikaze drones to Russia while at the same time presenting a peace plan, then I suggest we judge China by its actions and not its words,” German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius told German public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Sunday.
Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, warned China not to provide arms to Russia on Saturday when announcing his upcoming trip to China.
On the position paper, Macron remarked on the sidelines of a Paris agricultural exhibition, “The fact that China is involved in peace efforts is a good thing.”
Presidents of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the European Council Charles Michel may visit China in the first half of 2023, according to China’s ambassador to the EU Fu Cong, according to the state-run Global Times.
The EU’s top two officials are getting ready to visit, and “quite regular high-level mutual visits” between the EU and China are anticipated to start shortly, according to Fu in an interview that was published on Friday.
In an interview that was broadcast on Sunday, CIA Director William Burns also commented on China, stating that the US intelligence agency was “certain that the Chinese leadership is contemplating the transfer of deadly weaponry.”
Burns stated on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program that “we also don’t see that a final decision has yet been taken, and we don’t see indications of real shipments of lethal equipment.
Drones were reportedly among the weaponry China was considering supplying to Russia, according to Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, who serves as the head of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.
According to McCaul, Chinese President Xi Jinping is getting ready to travel to Moscow the next week to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin has framed the conflict in Ukraine, which he refers to as a “special military operation,” as a conflict with the West that imperils Russia and the Russian people.
In an interview that was filmed on Wednesday but made public on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the group’s only objective was to disintegrate the former Soviet Union and its core member, the Russian Federation.”
China finds itself in a difficult position because, on the one hand, China has certain political and economic interests in cooperating with Russia. On the other hand, China has cooperation interests with Ukraine. On the third hand, it is very important for China that relations with the European Union do not go downhill.
Several years ago, when the relations between China and the US started to deteriorate after the trade war, Beijing hoped that the European Union, as an important trade partner, would maintain maximum independence.
Russia will not be able to economically replace cooperation with Western countries with rapprochement with China, and therefore is not eager to help Russia. Historically, in the long term, China benefits from a weak Russia, because it will be easier to negotiate the supply of raw materials with it. China needs nothing more from Russia.
That’s why China can’t replace the West. China can supply a lot of mid-level equipment, but China has never been a technological leader, supplying the most sophisticated equipment that Russia always buys from Europe or America