U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, along with several other NATO ministers, delivered a message to China’s Foreign Affairs Commission Councillor Wang Yi. In the past, although China has openly sided with Russia in its illegal and unprovoked war in Ukraine, the aid has been of a non-lethal variety.
But Blinken and other allies made it clear to his Chinese counterpart that any lethal aid sent to Russia would affect US-China relations.
ABC’s Martha Radditz asked Blinken what evidence he had that made him think China is ready to send lethal aid to the Russians.
Blinken responded, “Martha, what I can tell you is this. First of all, from day one, almost quite literally because President Biden spoke to President Xi a couple of weeks into the Russian aggression back last March, and said to him that it would be a deep concern to us if China provided lethal support to Russia or helped in the systematic evasion of sanction. And part of the reason for that conversation going back to last March was, just a few weeks before President Putin and President Xi had met, and they talked about a partnership with no limits. And we were very concerned that no limits might including significant support to Russia and its aggression.”
The Secretary of State went further saying that they were watching China very closely. Up until now, they have been engaged in providing rhetorical, political, and diplomatic support to Russia.
Blinken said that they have information that is causing concern that they are considering providing lethal support to Russia in the war against Ukraine.
He felt it was very necessary to tell Wang Yi that this was a serious problem.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Wang Yi paid a whole lot of attention to it. Yesterday, he was in Moscow meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While they were together, Putin said the Russian-Chinese relations were developing as planned, and they are reaching new frontiers. He also declared that cooperation between Russia and China was very important for the stabilization of the international situation.
Wang Yi also said that Beijing would strengthen its economic and strategic cooperation with Russia.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the United States is ready to release intelligence information showing that China is considering supplying Russia with lethal aid. And the Biden Administration may soon decide to release intelligence that shows China is weighing whether to supply weapons to support Putin’s war in Ukraine.
Both U.S. and European officials have picked on these intelligence reports, and it appears that China has not yet made a final decision.
“Until now,” a senior western official said, there “has been a certain amount of ambiguity about what practical help China might give Russia.” The official said that the intelligence the U.S. and its allies have now is much less ambiguous.
One example is a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, who did not respond directly when asked on Wednesday whether China would supply lethal support for Russia’s war effort.
Some believe that the stern manner in which Blinken talked about the Chinese will put them in a box and force their hand in giving lethal aid to Russia.
And there’s not a country in the world that believes the Biden White House will do anything significant in response to China sending lethal aid. Their responses so far have been weak.
The truth is that previous Chinese arms deals have been shrouded in secrecy and the world may never know exactly what China gives to Russia. China is a world leader in the production of weapons that have been used so far in the Ukraine war.