China would cross a “red line,” according to the US, if it opted to lend Russia fatal military support for its invasion of Ukraine.
According to a CNN report, the US has started noticing “disturbing” trends in China’s military assistance to Russia, and there are indications that Beijing may be attempting to “creep up to the line” of giving Russia lethal military assistance while avoiding detection, according to US officials familiar with the intelligence.
The officials said US officials had reason to be worried enough to discuss the material with friends and partners at the Munich Security Conference over the previous few days, though they did not go into detail about the intelligence the US had seen, signaling a recent change in China’s position.
“We welcome the Chinese announcement that they want peace because that’s what we always want to pursue in situations like this. But we also have to be clear that if there are any thoughts and efforts by the Chinese and others to provide lethal support to the Russians in their brutal attack against Ukraine, that that is unacceptable,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told CNN’s Pamela Brown on “State of the Union.” on Sunday, February 19.
“That would be a red line,” she added.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the issue when he met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Saturday on the sidelines of the Munich conference, officials said.
“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 told reporters.
Thomas-Greenfield also reiterated Sunday that the US is prepared to “compete” with China.
“The president has said we see China as the adversary it is. We are prepared to compete with the Chinese, and we are [prepared], when necessary, to confront the Chinese. And that’s what we’re doing. And that’s what we will continue to do to ensure that our national interests are always at the forefront,” she said.