US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had no doubt what the US reaction would be. If China decides to hand over weapons to Russia.
“It would be a serious problem” for both countries if Beijing supported a war of aggression against Ukraine with dangerous equipment or systematically circumvented sanctions to help Moscow, Blinken vowed after a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in India on Thursday.
Blinken saidI have already clarified this position to China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in February.
“I made it clear that there are consequences for this kind of action. I won’t go into details, but it’s clear that we have many kinds of obstacles, which certainly include things that we and others do. [países] We will consider,” he said, adding that concerns about supplying dangerous weapons are shared by other countries.
The Federal Chancellor of Germany is Olaf Scholz It called on China not to supply arms to Russia.
“Use your influence in Moscow to withdraw Russian troops [da Ucrânia] And don’t supply arms to an aggressive Russia,” Scholz told the government in Beijing a few days ago.
Are the warnings justified?
However, so far the US has no practical evidence to support this concern. According to Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder, there is no record of China providing dangerous aid to Russia. However, the Pentagon also found that “China is not taking the issue off the table.”
President of the United States, Joe Biden, was also cautious. In an interview with ABC News a few days ago, he said, “I don’t expect a big effort from China to arm Russia.
A similar opinion was shared by Kyrillo Budanov, head of the Ukrainian intelligence service.
“Right now, I don’t think China will agree to transfer weapons to Russia,” he said in an interview with Voice of America radio. “I don’t see any signs that these things are being discussed.”
In fact, so far U.S. concerns are not based on any publicly available facts, explains Anna Marty, head of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation’s Taipei office.
While it is conceivable that China could provide weapons, Marty says, “there are many reasons to speak against such a move from the Chinese point of view.”
According to Marty, there are signs that China is supplying Russia with military equipment. However, they are limited to spare parts, for example drones. China can also provide navigation technology for fighter jets. “However, it must be emphasized that whether China has provided or will provide lethal weapons is a fact known only to intelligence,” he pointed out.
Helena Legarda, from Mercator Institute for China Studies, Agrees from Berlin. There are indications that China may have supported Russia with non-lethal equipment such as supplies Semiconductors. However, so far, there is no indication that China has sent any lethal weapons such as missiles or drones.
“The Americans say they have evidence that Beijing is considering supplying such weapons. But, so far, there has been no public evidence that China is considering it.”
Putin’s defeat does not matter to Beijing
Basically, Legarda says, China has a vested interest in Russia not losing the war. This is because both countries pursue common interests related to global order.
“Both see the US and therefore NATO as their main enemies. Both want to reshape the current world order because, in their view, it is dominated by the US and the West.”
The worst development from China’s point of view would be a political shift in Moscow, with Russia becoming a liberal democracy and closer to the West. “Because China will become more isolated in terms of its geopolitical ambitions.”
Additionally, Beijing fears that Russia’s defeat could lead to political instability. “The two countries share a long border in common. This is another reason why Beijing does not want a politically unstable neighbor that could result from a Russian defeat.”
Despite these Chinese interests, according to Legarda, there are several reasons why Beijing does not supply arms to Moscow. Fearing the risk of secondary sanctions, many Chinese companies have complied with Western sanctions against Russia. Moreover, the Chinese government is aware that arms sales will further worsen relations with the US and Europe.
Anna Marti of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation says the sanctions threatened by the US will have particularly severe consequences for the Chinese economy. “The US is likely to pressure its European partners to participate in such sanctions [contra Pequim]This is dangerous for China, which is already suffering economically The international spread of Covid-19. For this reason alone, Beijing is very reluctant to hand over weapons to Russia.
“Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow”
Meanwhile, Americans remain vigilant. Republican Michael McCaul, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said signs of possible arms deliveries to Russia should be taken very seriously. According to him, these warnings cannot be ignored. “Otherwise the Russians will be on the Polish border and President G [Jinping] Invade Taiwan,” he told US news channel ABC last Sunday.
The Kremlin’s view of Ukraine matches Beijing’s Taiwan, says Anna Marty. “Putin denies that Ukraine is an independent country. China is right about Taiwan. Both countries argue on behalf of imperialist kingdoms over their territorial claims, even if they are modern states.”
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