According to the US, if China assists Russia in evading sanctions during its invasion of Ukraine, it will suffer consequences. Unnamed US sources allegedly told numerous news sites that Russia had requested military support from China after the invasion began.
The Chinese foreign ministry did not explicitly answer the claim, but instead accused the US of purposefully disseminating misinformation about China.
The conversations take place only days before top US and Chinese officials meet in Rome.
According to US media reports quoting Washington officials, Russia has approached China expressly for military weapons, including drones, in recent days.
In an interview with CNN, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated that the US was “communicating directly, privately to Beijing that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them”
“We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world,” he added.
He went on to say that while the US felt China was aware that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “planning something” before the invasion, Beijing “may not have understood the full extent of it”
In response, Zhao Lijian, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, stated the US has “been spreading disinformation targeting China on the Ukraine issue, with malicious intentions”
When asked if China had received a request for military assistance from Russia, Mr Zhao dismissed the claim as “fake news” but did not explicitly refute it. He went on to say that China’s attitude had always been consistent, and that China was actively pushing dialogue.
On Monday in Rome, Mr Sullivan will meet Yang Jiechi, a member of China’s top decision-making body, the Politburo, and the chairman of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission.
So far, China has refrained from criticising Russia for the invasion, instead stating that Moscow’s “legitimate security concerns” should be taken seriously.
China was one of 35 countries that abstained when the United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn Russia’s incursion earlier this month.
At the same time, Beijing has stated its “unwavering support” for Ukraine’s sovereignty. It has also advocated for peace and stated that it is willing to assist in ending the war through diplomacy. Several nations have asked China to do more to prevent Russia’s invasion.
Remember that only a few weeks ago, as the Winter Olympics began in Beijing, Presidents Xi and Putin pledged a new “no limit” partnership. Military assistance may undoubtedly be part of that.
However, in the days following Russia’s incursion, China criticised the United Kingdom, the United States, and others for providing weaponry to Ukraine’s military, claiming that they were putting “fuel to the fire”
If the US intelligence assessment is true and Beijing follows through on the request, they will be “adding fuel” as well.