China Contemplates Lethal Aid to Russia for Ukraine Crisis
The United States has raised concerns that China may be supplying lethal military aid to Russia for use in Ukraine, an accusation denied by Beijing. In an interview with NBC News' “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicated that there are multiple varieties of lethal aid that they are considering offering, including weapons.
China's Foreign Ministry outlined what it called “China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis,” in a 12-point document released Friday. Beijing's proposal calls for “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries,” while criticizing the wide-ranging economic sanctions imposed by the US and other Western countries on Russia. In a joint statement with Vladimir Putin ahead of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that the friendship between their states had “no limits” and “no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation.”
Russia and China have put teeth in their alliance with joint naval drills and joint heavy bomber flights at the end of last year on and above the East China Sea. On Wednesday, Putin proclaimed that the relationship between the two countries had advanced to “new levels” and confirmed that Xi will be making a visit to Russia later this year.
The Biden administration is considering releasing intelligence it believes shows that China is weighing whether to supply weapons to support Russia's war in Ukraine. Blinken warned that such a move would have “serious consequences” in the US-China relationship. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg echoed that concern on Tuesday.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Western countries have given Ukraine billions of dollars' worth of weapons. If China does supply Russia with weapons, it will join Iran who has been supplying Russia with drones, a fact used by both the US and Ukraine as a reason for Israel to provide Ukraine with defensive arms.
It is unclear what China's response to the US and NATO warnings will be. However, it appears that Beijing is not willing to break ties with the US and its allies as trade relations are too important. As Russia and China broadcast their friendship to the world, it remains to be seen whether their partnership will blossom into a marriage of convenience or end in a bad breakup.
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