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Worried about China’s military aid to Russia, the US threatened sanctions right in front of a high-level phone call

A warning from the US side

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US would punish China if President Xi Jinping provided military aid to Russia to support the military campaign in Ukraine, the New York Times reported.

“We are concerned about the possibility that they would consider providing military equipment directly to Russia for use in Ukraine,” Blinken told a news conference in Washington.

Blinken confirmed that President Biden will speak with President Xi Jinping in a phone call scheduled for March 18 and will ensure that China is held accountable for any actions it takes to support the Russian attack. The US Secretary of State emphasized: The US will not hesitate to impose sanctions.

Blinken is the highest-ranking US official to issue a direct warning against China’s military aid to Russia to date. The US diplomat also said that, because of the relationship between the two sides, China has a special responsibility in trying to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the military campaign.

However, “it appears that China is going in the opposite direction by refusing to condemn the attack while seeking to present itself as a neutral judge,” Blinken said.

According to information from the White House, the two leaders of the United States and China will have a phone call on March 18, part of “efforts to maintain lines of communication”. Mr. Biden and Mr. Xi are expected to discuss the situation in Ukraine and US-China competition, among other issues.

“This is an opportunity for President Biden to assess President Xi’s position,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a recent press conference.

The call was arranged by White House Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chinese Politburo member Yang Jiechi during a high-level meeting in Rome earlier this week.

Does China give military aid to Russia?

Earlier, the NYT cited US officials as revealing that Moscow had asked Beijing to support and provide military equipment after Russia launched a special operation in Ukraine. According to an official, Russia also asked the Chinese side for economic support to cope with draconian sanctions imposed by the US, the West and its Asian allies.

In addition, a European official told the NYT that the US State Department had sent telegrams to its allies confirming that China had positive signs on the issue of military aid to Russia.

The official revealed that Moscow has requested five types of weapons: surface-to-air missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, armored vehicles, logistics vehicles and intelligence-related equipment.

Meanwhile, a senior Pentagon official said that the Russian side requested unmanned aerial vehicles and even dry food (MRE). The official said that before the high-level meeting in Rome, the US had received indications that China was leaning in the direction of implementing Russia’s request.

For its part, China affirmed that it does not want to be affected by US sanctions related to Russia’s military activities in Ukraine.

“China is not a party to the crisis, nor does it want to be affected by sanctions,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a recent phone call with his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares. The country has the right to ensure its legitimate rights and interests.

Wang Yi’s statement was described by CNBC as one of China’s most outspoken statements about the unprecedented series of sanctions targeting the financial system and Russian companies.

Regarding the issue of military support, Beijing has denied the above information while Russia has affirmed that it has not asked China for aid.


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