The nation’s top diplomat is warning China against providing military equipment to Russia as the former Soviet state’s full-scale invasion of its democratic neighbor enters a second year, telling the nation it would cause a ‘serious problem,” with the U.S.
“We’ve been concerned from day one about that possibility,” Sec. of State Antony Blinken said Saturday.
Blinken, speaking on CBS’s Face the Nation, said that President Joe Biden had cautioned Chinese President Xi Jinping against providing lethal support to Russia in the early stages of the invasion. However, the Secretary of State, fresh from a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, told Margaret Brennan that the Chinese Communist Party could be planning to provide ammunition and arms to Russia.
“We have seen them provide non-lethal support to Russia for use in Ukraine. The concern that we have now is based on information we have that they’re considering providing lethal support, and we’ve made very clear to them that that would cause a serious problem for us and in our relationship,” Blinken said.
His assertion comes on the heels of a meeting with the chief of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Yi, who told diplomats and world leaders assembled at last week’s Munich Security Conference that the CCP is actively pursuing a peace proposal aimed at ending the conflict.
Yi and Blinken’s face-to-face encounter in Germany was the first such conversation between high ranking diplomats from either country since the U.S. shot down an alleged Chinese Spy balloon earlier in the month.
Blinken had previously been scheduled to visit China but canceled the trip after the balloon’s flight was declared to be in violation of U.S. sovereignty.
“I made very clear to (Yi) that China sending its surveillance balloon over the United States in violation of our sovereignty, in violation of international law, was unacceptable and must never happen again,” he said.
Now, according to Blinken, the Chinese are getting entirely too close with the Russians.
“I warned China against providing materiel support to Russia,” Blinken Tweeted Saturday evening.
Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine began in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and has continued in a pair of Moscow-backed separatist regions since. On February 24 of 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military to launch a further three-front invasion of its neighbor.
The resulting conflict has dragged on far longer than Putin, his generals, or global observers thought would be possible. However, with Russia’s advances stalled and following an estimated 200,000 casualties, the war which has displaced nearly 14 million Ukrainian civilians may soon become worse, as Putin’s forces marshal for a further spring offensive.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, speaking with ABC, said that China taking Putin’s side in the conflict would be “dumber than dirt.”
“Now, if that happens, the world needs to come down hard on China,” Graham said. “Any country that comes to their aid needs to pay a heavy price.”
Graham, who serves on the Senate’s appropriations and budget committees, called for the U.S. to begin training Ukrainian pilots in F-16 fighter jets.
“I believe a decision will be imminent here when we get back to Washington that the administration will start training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16. They need the weapons system,” he said.
There has been concern among observers that Russia’s invasion could possibly embolden China to invade Taiwan, which, like Putin and Ukraine, it claims is CCP territory despite the nation’s independent government.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen extended the island nation’s military draft in a December announcement in which he directly referenced the Russia’s invasion.
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