US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned China of the consequences should China provide weapons to Russia.
He said China is “strongly considering” providing Russia with weapons in its conflict with Ukraine, which is receiving heavy weaponry from the US and its allies.
Blinken, who met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the annual Munich Security Conference on Saturday, said in an interview with NBC News that he made clear to Wang that “would have serious consequences in our relationship.” The interview is set to be aired on Sunday.
“There are various kinds of lethal assistance that they are at least contemplating providing, to include weapons,” Blinken said, adding that Washington would soon release more details.
“China is trying to have it both ways,” Blinken said, The Hill reported. “Publicly, they present themselves as a country striving for peace in Ukraine. But privately, as I said, we’ve seen already over these past months the provision of non-lethal assistance that does go directly to aiding and abetting Russia’s war effort.”
He also claimed that Beijing is considering providing “material support to Russia’s war effort that would have a lethal effect.”
However, the top US also said that China has not yet provided lethal assistance to Russia.
“We see China considering this. We have not seen them cross that line,” he said. “So, I think it’s important that we make clear, as I did this evening in my meeting with Wang Yi, that this is something that is of deep concern to us.”
“I made clear the importance of not crossing that line and the fact that it would have serious consequences on our own relationship, something that we do not need on top of the balloon incident that China is engaged in,” Blinken added.
“(The) secretary was quite blunt in warning about the implications and consequences of China providing material support to Russia or assisting Russia with systematic sanctions evasion,” a senior State Department official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
This comes despite the fact that the United States has provided Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars of weapons since Russia launched a military campaign against the country fearing Washington and its allies were using Ukraine to destabilize Russia.
US weapons manufacturers have profited from the Ukraine war with Russia, with massive increases in procurement orders for US weaponry being earmarked for Ukraine’s military, according to a report
US military officials said that the Pentagon was getting more requests for weapons, including the high-tech, multiple-launch rocket system that Ukrainian forces have successfully used against Russian ammunition depots and other supplies, The Associated Press reported.
The Pentagon has supplied large amounts of weaponry and ammunition to Ukraine. The US military has also confirmed the delivery of American anti-radar missiles to Ukraine in a bid to facilitate the targeting of Russian radar systems by Ukrainian warplanes.
The United States approved arms sales to NATO Allies increased dramatically in 2021, compared with 2022, as the war between Russia and Ukraine prompted the member states into purchasing more weapons.
By some estimates, military spending by the United States and its allies is growing at a level without precedent since the end of the Second World War.
According to an analysis by Foreign Policy Magazine, the number and cash value of arms sales approved by the United States to its NATO allies has nearly doubled in 2022 Compared to 2021.