China will face “consequences” for supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US Secretary of State warned.
After meeting with Wang Yi, Antony Blinken stated that Washington was worried about Beijing supplying weapons to Moscow in an interview.
The two superpowers’ top diplomats met in an undisclosed location at the sidelines of a global safety conference in Munich.
He had just hours before criticized Washington for being “hysterical” in a dispute over the Americans’ downing of a suspected Chinese spy ball.
Relations between the two countries are deteriorating ever since Washington declared China launched a spy balloon above the continental US, before American fighter jets took it down.
In an interview that will air on Sunday morning on NBC News’ Meet the Press, Chuck Todd, Mr. Blinken stated that the United States is concerned that China might consider providing lethal support for Russia. He also made it clear to Mr Wang that this would have “serious consequences for our relationship”.
“There are many types of lethal assistance they are at minimum contemplating providing, including weapons,” Mr Blinken stated, adding that Washington would soon release additional details.
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According to a short statement by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Wang said that the United States must confront and repair the damage to bilateral relations caused by “indiscriminate force use”.
The diplomat was referring specifically to the recent sinking of what Washington called an “espion balloon”, but Beijing claimed it was a weather-monitoring aircraft.
In a briefing call with reporters, a top State Department official stated that China wanted to “have both sides” and claimed it wanted to help peace and stability while also taking “concerning steps” to support Russia’s invasion Ukraine .
The senior official said that Mr Blinken was “quite blunt” in his warnings about the consequences and implications of China supporting Russia materially or aiding Russia with its systematic sanctions evasion.
The Kremlin and Beijing signed a “no limitations” partnership in February last year, shortly before Russian forces invaded Ukraine. Their economic relations have boomed since then as Moscow’s relations to the West fell apart.
China’s response in Ukraine has been a source of concern for the West. Some have warned that a Russian victory could have implications for China’s actions towards Taiwan.
China has not yet condemned the war, or labeled it an “invasion”
In a speech earlier, Mr Wang called for dialogue, and suggested that European countries should “think calmly” about ending the war.
He said that “some forces don’t seem to want negotiations to succeed or for war to end soon” without naming them.