China has been given a warning from the Pentagon – if they support Russia against Ukraine, there will be “consequences.”
“If China does choose to materially support Russia in this war, there’ll likely be consequences for China in that regard,” a senior U.S. defense official said during a Pentagon background briefing on Monday.
The Defense official didn’t elaborate on what those consequences might look like for China.
“We have seen China basically give tacit approval to what Russia is going by refusing to join sanctions, by blaming the West and the United States for the assistance we’ve given Ukraine, by claiming they wanted to see a peaceful outcome but essentially doing nothing to achieve it,” the official added.
On Monday, the Financial Times reported that China has “signaled willingness” to provide support to Russia, according to a briefing from the U.S to its allies.
This support would include surface-to-air missiles, drones, intelligence equipment, armored vehicles, logistics and support vehicles and all of these have been requested by Russia.
The report cited “officials familiar with American diplomatic cables,” but US officials didn’t allude to where they got the information from.
The US expects China to deny such plans, according to a report from Reuters, after a U.S official told Reuters, that China was considering obliging Putin’s requests, “It’s real, it’s consequential, and it’s really alarming.”
Both the Chinese and the Russians are denying any of it.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was about to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Rome, just as the leak happened.
A statement from the White House, said after the meeting that Sullivan raised a “range of issues in U.S.-China relations, with substantial discussion of Russia’s war against Ukraine.”
A senior administration official told reporters, “We have deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia at this time, and the national security adviser was direct about those concerns and the potential implications and consequences of certain actions.”
The official added that Sullivan described to Yang “the unity of the United States and its allies and partners…in bringing costs on Russia for its actions.”
Beijing was warned against helping Russia by the State Department.
State Department Press Secretary Ned Price said Monday, “We are watching very closely to the extent to which the [People’s Republic of China] or any country in the world provides support, material, economic, financial, rhetorical or otherwise, to this war of choice that President Putin is waging. We have been very clear, both privately with Beijing, publicly with Beijing, that there would be consequences for any such support.”
The U.S has sought help from China previously regarding Russia and over a period of three months, there were several urgent meetings between Chinese officials and Biden officials. Biden officials begged the Chinese to convince Russia not invade Ukraine.
Of course, the Chinese officials went straight to Moscow to share this information with them, and according to the New York Times, China told the Russians that the United States were attempting to upset their mutual peace, but that China would not interfere in any way.
Former Trump administration National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, told reporters on Capitol Hill that:
“There’s nothing wrong with talking to our adversaries, but I think it’s a little naive to think that somehow we’re going to convince the Chinese to go to their allies — the Russians — and say, ‘The Americans know where your troops are, so you shouldn’t invade,’”
“I think it maybe was a little naive to expect that we were going to get aid from the Chinese on this issue. I mean — especially when China, at the same time that this is happening, China’s sending fighter jets into the air defense identification zone of Taiwan,” he added. “So, it was a little surprising.”
O’Brien said that there’s no way Putin would have made his move without support from China.
“They — he and Xi — got together at the Olympics. There’s no doubt they talked about this. China is building pipelines and buying oil from Russia. And they’re basically telling the Russians, ‘If you’re cut off from the West, don’t worry, you got access to the Chinese market.’”
“So they’re certainly supporting Russia. And they’d also like to see the precedent of Russia taking Ukraine to give them a precedent for taking Taiwan. So we’ve gotta be very tough on China,” he said.