The US secretary of state has warned China that there will be “consequences” if Beijing provides material support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Anthony Blinken said in an interview after meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that Washington was concerned that Beijing was considering supplying arms to Moscow.
Top diplomats from two superpowers met at an undisclosed location during the 2018 global security conference munich.
Just hours earlier, Mr Wang had scolded Washington for being “hysterical” over an argument over the shooting down of a suspect by the Americans Chinese spy balloon.
Relations between the two countries have been deteriorating since Washington’s statement China A spy balloon was flown over the continental US before US fighter jets shot it down.
In an interview aired Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd” program, Mr Blinken said the US was very concerned that China was considering providing it with lethal support Russia He made it clear to Mr Wang that “there would be serious consequences for our relationship”.
“They’re at least looking at all kinds of lethal assistance, including weapons,” Mr Blinken said, adding that Washington would release more details soon.
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Mr. Wang told Blinken that the United States must “face up to and address” the damage to bilateral relations caused by “indiscriminate use of force,” according to a brief statement released by China’s foreign ministry.
The diplomat was referring to the recent downing of what Washington called a spy balloon but Beijing claimed was a weather monitor.
A senior State Department official told reporters at a briefing that China was trying to “play a two-pronged approach,” saying it wanted to contribute to peace and stability, but at the same time taking “worrying” steps to support Russia’s invasion of China. Ukraine.
The senior official added that Mr. Blinken “has been outspoken in his warnings of the implications and consequences of China providing material support to Russia or assisting Russia in systematically evading sanctions”.
Beijing and the Kremlin signed an “unrestricted” partnership last February, shortly before Russian troops invaded Ukraine, and their economic ties have flourished as Moscow’s ties with the West have collapsed.
The West has been wary of China’s response to the war in Ukraine, with some warning that a Russian victory could have repercussions for China’s actions against Taiwan.
So far, China has not condemned the war or even called it an “invasion.”
Earlier, on a panel at the conference, Mr Wang called for dialogue and advised European countries to “think calmly” about how to end the war.
“There are forces that don’t seem to want the negotiations to succeed, or the war to end anytime soon,” he added, without specifying who those forces were.