Biden will punish China if it provides military aid to Russia, Blinken says
Biden will punish China if it provides military aid to Russia, Blinken says

Biden will punish China if it provides military aid to Russia, Blinken says

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said Thursday that the United States would punish China if President Xi Jinping chose to provide military assistance to Russia for the war in Ukraine, where Russian forces have killed thousands of civilians.

“We are concerned that they are considering assisting Russia directly with military equipment for use in Ukraine,” Mr Blinken said at a news conference in Washington. “President Biden will speak with President Xi tomorrow and will make it clear that China will take responsibility for any action it takes to support Russia’s aggression, and we will not hesitate to impose costs.”

Sir. Blinken is the most senior US official to explicitly warn China against providing military aid to Russia. He said it because of China ties to Russiahad a special responsibility to try to persuade President Vladimir V. Putin to end his war.

But “it seems that China is moving in the opposite direction by refusing to condemn this aggression while seeking to portray itself as a neutral judge,” Mr Blinken said.

The White House announced Thursday that Mr Biden and Mr Xi would speak on Friday as part of “ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication.” The two presidents are expected to discuss, among other things, the war in Ukraine and the competition between the United States and China, the White House said.

Sir. Biden and Mr. Xi last spoke on November 15 in a video call. The talks, scheduled for Friday, were hosted by Jake Sullivan, the White House’s national security adviser, and Wang Yi, a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo, when the two met in Rome on Monday, said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. . During a seven-hour meeting, Mr. Sullivan Mr. Wang that China should not provide aid to Russia.

“This is an opportunity for President Biden to assess where President Xi stands,” Ms Psaki said at a news briefing on Thursday. She added that there had been an “absence of denunciation by China of what Russia is doing”, which “obviously stands out in the eyes of everything China stands for, including the basic principles of the UN Charter, including the basic principles of respect for the sovereignty of nations. “

“So the fact that China has not condemned what Russia is doing says a lot in itself,” Ms. continued. Psaki. “And it also talks a lot about not only in Russia and Ukraine, but around the world.”

Mr. Xi and Mr. Putin met on February 4 in Beijing, two weeks before the invasion, and issued a 5,000-word statement saying their two countries had a partnership without borders.

It told US officials to The New York Times on Sunday Russia had asked China to provide military equipment and support after Mr Putin began his full-scale invasion on 24 February. An official said Russia had also asked for financial support to help dull harsh sanctions imposed on the country by the United States and its European and Asian allies.

The Foreign Ministry sent cables to allies, saying China had given positive signals about military aid, a European official said on Monday. The official added that Russia had requested five types of equipment: ground-to-air missiles, drones, armored vehicles, logistics vehicles and intelligence-related equipment.

A senior Pentagon official gave some different details this week, saying the request from Russia included drones, safe radios and even meals ready to eat, rations for troops, commonly known as MREs. The official said that before the Rome summit, the United States had received indications that China was inclined to comply with the Russian request.

Officials spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of diplomatic, military and intelligence matters.

Pentagon officials have discovered that the Russian military has problems with the performance of air-to-ground and ground-to-ground missiles in the war. The Russian land offensive has stalled in parts of Ukraine, where columns of tanks and other armored vehicles have been sitting on the roads for days. U.S. officials have given a conservative estimate more than 7,000 Russian troops have been killed, more than the number of U.S. troops killed in over 20 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

The Russian military has turned to tactics it used in wars in Chechnya and Syria: Firing barricades of missiles, rockets and grenades at cities to kill civilians, including many women and children, to try to force a surrender.

Even with the slaughter, Chinese officials have continued to support Russia. They have blamed the United States for the war and repeated Mr Putin’s criticism of NATO. Chinese diplomats and government media organizations have intensified the Kremlin’s propaganda and a conspiracy theory about Pentagon-funded bioweapons laboratories in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Xue Hanqin, the Chinese judge at the International Court of Justice, took the side of the Russian judge by distancing himself from a ruling that Russia should immediately end its war in Ukraine. The vote was 13 to 2.

From November, US officials shared intelligence about Russia’s troop build-up around Ukraine with Chinese officials, asking them to try to persuade Mr Putin not to invade. but was rejected, US officials have said. And a Western intelligence report said senior Chinese officials asked senior Russian officials in early February to endure invading Ukraine until after the Winter Olympics in Beijing, US and European officials have said.

Qin Gang, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, wrote in a statement essay published Tuesday by The Washington Post that “allegations that China was aware of, consented to, or tacitly supported this war are pure disinformation.”

Evan S. Medeiros, who served as senior Asian director of the National Security Council at the Obama White House, wrote in a statement essay published Thursday by The Financial Times that Europe, China’s largest trading partner, must put pressure on Beijing to stop supporting Moscow in the war.

“Its strategic alignment with Russia before the invasion, combined with its enabling Russia since the first missile hit, is an expression of the 1950s Sino-Soviet alliance,” he wrote, referring to a period in which Mao and Stalin coordinated politics and foreign policy. . .

Erik Schmitt contributed with reporting.

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