CIA Director William Burns said the United States believes that China is considering providing weaponry to support Russia in its war in Ukraine.
“We’re confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment,” he said in an interview aired Sunday on CBS News. “We also don’t see that a final decision has been made yet, and we don’t see evidence of actual shipments of lethal equipment.”
“If Burns is correct, this is a new development. Russia and China haven’t had a military alliance since the early 1960s and perhaps, actually, since the Korean War. In fact, they’ve never had an overt military alliance, and whenever they’ve had anything resembling that alliance, both were still severely damaged in terms of their ability to produce hardware and project power by World War II,” said New York-based journalist Don DeBar.
“In fact, such an alliance could be decisive, both in a war limited to Ukraine and in a global conflict, should it come to that,” he told Press TV on Sunday.
Over the past year, Ukraine has been showered with weapons and billions of dollars in financial support by the United States and its allies.
Still, the US intelligence chief warned that such a step by China would be “a very risky and unwise bet.”
“I hope very much that they don’t,” he added.
DeBar denounced the CIA chief’s statement and said that the “war in Ukraine is an American war against Russia.”
“Burns is commenting from a position which apparently assumes that the United States has the right to interfere in the relations between China and Russia,” he said.
“Of course, the US has no special right to infringe on the sovereign rights of other states to form alliances. And since the US claims not to be a party to the war in Ukraine, which parties decide to support Russia in that war should be of no concern to the US. But, in fact, the war in Ukraine is a US war against Russia, and everyone involved, including Washington, Beijing and Moscow, knows this,” he stated.
“China is supporting Russia in a variety of ways, whether military or not, and this has been true and clear since 2014, when the US attempted to isolate Russia with sanctions and China responded by making the largest business deal in history with Russia. The US has no court to take this dispute to, since it violates no laws or agreements. If it seeks to punish China, it will have to do so either with sanctions or military action or both, and China is quite prepared to respond in kind should that become necessary,” DeBar pointed out.
“If the US wants to try to isolate China economically, China will stop sending the manufactured goods that consumers in the US use on a daily basis. If the US decides to respond to that in kind, I assume it will recall the lawyers; accountants and PR people that it has placed in China. At this point, the only thing that the US exports is lawyers, accountants, PR people and weapons. And, of course, death and destruction,” he said.
Earlier on Sunday, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan also issued a blunt US warning to China to stop short of providing lethal weaponry to Russia. But both Burns and Sullivan acknowledged that the United States has yet to determine that any weaponry has been shipped, according to AFP.
“We actually haven’t seen them take a final decision… and we haven’t seen the aid be provided to Russia,” Sullivan said on CNN’s State of the Union. “So we will watch carefully, we will be vigilant,” he added.
China is considering sending drones and munitions to Russia, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. China has denied it is considering any such shipment to Russia.
“Right now, with China’s ability to manufacture materials and provide manpower and Russia’s ability to provide strategic advanced weaponry and fuel adjacent to China’s factories, it’s a rather formidable construct as a military alliance,” DeBar noted.
“And US foreign policy, by attacking them both simultaneously beginning certainly during the Obama Administration but perhaps earlier, practically forced a military alliance between the two of them,” he observed.
Burns said both US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Joe Biden “have thought it important to make very clear what the consequences of that would be.”
Biden said Friday that he does not “anticipate a major initiative” from China to provide weapons to Russia. He said he had told Chinese President Xi Jinping last summer that there would be dire economic repercussions should China decide to arm Russia. “Without any government prodding, 600 American corporations left Russia — from McDonald’s to Exxon — across the board,” he said he told Xi.
Meanwhile, China has defended expanding relations with Russia against the backdrop of growing Western unilateralism.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday that despite the challenging international landscape, China-Russia relations have stood the test of time.
“This is because China-Russia relations have enjoyed a solid political, economic and cultural foundation and been blessed with the calm and soberness that stem from a keen grasp of historical experience,” he told reporters in Beijing.
Wang said Beijing and Moscow were seeking to strengthen relations and remain committed to building a “multipolar” world.
Putin: Russia is ‘opposed to the emergence of a unipolar world’
On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin also said his country is opposed to the emergence of a unipolar world that revolves around Washington’s interests.
He said Russia is striving to create a multipolar world rather than one that is centered around the US.
The Russian leader suggested that Washington’s “satellite states” are also well aware of these “egoistic” intentions. However, still they have chosen to turn a blind eye to this due to “various reasons connected first and foremost with huge dependence in the economic sphere and defense,” he added.
Some of Washington’s allies also see confrontation with Russia as a unifying cause, eclipsing any differences between them and the US, Putin noted.
Russia began its “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, 2022 with a declared aim of “demilitarizing” Donbas, which is made up of the Donetsk and Luhansk self-proclaimed republics. Back in 2014, the two republics, which are predominantly Russian-speaking, broke away from Ukraine, prompting Kiev to launch a bloody war against both regions. The years-long conflict has killed more than 14,000 people, mostly in the Donbas.
Since the onset of the conflict between the two countries, the United States and its European allies have unleashed an array of unprecedented sanctions against Russia and poured numerous batches of advanced weapons into Ukraine to help its military fend off the Russian troops, despite repeated warnings by the Kremlin that such measures will only prolong the war.