HONG KONG – China on Monday hit back at United States accusations that it may provide nontrivial military aid to Russia in its war on Ukraine, asking Washington to stay out of its ties with the Kremlin.
“The US is not qualified to dictate orders to China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular news briefing. We will never accept US criticism, even coercion and pressure on China-Russia relations.
Wang said that China’s position on Ukraine “can be cast as promoting peace talks.”
“China will firmly stand by the side of dialogue and peace and play a constructive role in easing the situation,” he said.
The United States believes China may provide non-lethal military aid to Russia for use in Ukraine, and may also consider sending lethal aid, four US officials familiar with the matter said on Saturday. told NBC News in a special report. He did not detail any underlying intelligence that might have motivated the allegation.
Beijing’s response came as President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Monday ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion.
Speaking earlier Monday in Ankara, Turkey, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Biden told Chinese President Xi Jinping early that “there will be real consequences in our own relationship if China provides lethal assistance to Russia in this aggression against Ukraine.” does or systematically helps in evading sanctions.”
Blinken declined to specify what those results might be.
“But I think China understands what is the risk in going ahead with providing that kind of material support to Russia,” he said, adding that it could also affect China’s relations with other countries. .
Shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine last February, Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a lengthy joint statement declaring a “no borders” partnership between their two countries. China has refrained from condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, urging peace talks, expressing concern about the humanitarian situation and taking precautions to avoid violating international sanctions.
Blinken said China is “trying to have it both ways.”
“Publicly, they present themselves as a country striving for peace in Ukraine,” he said in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” “But personally, as I said, we have already seen over these past months the provision of non-lethal aid that goes directly to aid and boost Russia’s war effort.”
While US officials do not believe China is currently providing lethal aid to Russia, Blinken said, “there are different types of lethal aid that they are at least considering providing, which include weapons.”
Blinken said he discussed the issue with Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, in a meeting on Saturday on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. Tensions have already risen between the two countries this month over a Chinese surveillance balloon downed by the US military, the discovery of which prompted Blinken to postpone a planned visit to Beijing.
At the Munich conference, Wang said China would issue a document clarifying its position on the political settlement of the Ukraine dispute in the coming days. Wang, who was at the conference as part of a wider Europe trip, is expected to arrive in Moscow as early as Monday for talks on Ukraine and other issues, which could be a precursor to Xi’s trip to Moscow.
Also in Munich, Wang met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, telling him that China stood on the side of peace and dialogue, according to a readout released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Sunday.
Wang said, “We do not want to see the Ukraine crisis prolonged and extended, and we are willing to work with the international community to prevent further deterioration of the situation and strive for peace.”