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Sunday, June 2, 2024

US draws ‘red line’ for China

Beijing providing Moscow with “lethal” aid would be unacceptable, top American officials warn

Any nation providing lethal support to Moscow in its ongoing conflict with Kiev would cross Washington’s “red line,” the US envoy to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told CNN on Sunday. Earlier the same day, US State Secretary Antony Blinken directly warned a top Chinese diplomat, Wang Yi, against considering such an option.

“We … have to be clear that if there are any thoughts and efforts by the Chinese and others to provide lethal support to the Russians in their brutal attack against Ukraine, that that is unacceptable,” Thomas-Greenfield told CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ adding that it “would be a red line.”

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Her words came as Blinken was meeting Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in Germany. There, the US diplomat told his Chinese counterpart that the US was “very concerned that China’s considering providing lethal support to Russia,” Blinken told NBC’s Chuck Todd in the wake of the meeting.

“I made clear that that would have serious consequences in our relationship,” the state secretary added. He also claimed that the US was aware of Beijing providing Moscow wit nonlethal assistance “over these past months,” adding that this aid allegedly goes “directly to aiding and abetting Russia’s war effort.”

Blinken also said Washington has received some information that “indicates” China is “strongly considering providing lethal assistance to Russia.” He did not provide details on the nature of the information or the exact type of aid for Russia that China was supposedly considering. Instead, he said that some more details would be revealed in the future.

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The state secretary also said Beijing had “not crossed that line yet.”

On Sunday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry also issued a statement on the meeting between Blinken and Wang Yi. There, China called on the US to work toward a political settlement of the conflict in Ukraine instead of “fanning the flames” of this military standoff between Moscow and Kiev and “profiteering from the situation.”

China itself is “committed to promoting peace talks,” the statement said, adding that a strategic partnership between Moscow and Beijing is a “sovereign right of… two independent states.” China would “not accept the US finger-pointing or even coercion targeting China-Russia relations,” the ministry warned.