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Antony Blinken warns that China may provide Russia with weapons for the Ukraine war

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that China is considering providing Russia with arms and ammunition for the conflict in Ukraine.

According to Mr. Blinken, CBS News has learned that Chinese businesses are already giving Russia “non-lethal support” and that Beijing may do so in the future.

He warned that this escalation would have “serious consequences” for China.

China has refuted claims that Moscow has asked for military hardware.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has not yet denounced Russia’s invasion but has called for peace and sought to maintain neutrality.

After meeting Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, Mr. Blinken spoke with CBS.

He claimed that he “deeply worried” about the “possibility that China will provide lethal material support to Russia” during the meeting.

“Chinese businesses have so far helped Russia in Ukraine without using lethal force. Our current worry stems from knowledge that they are considering offering lethal support, “said he.

He didn’t go into detail about the specific information the US had about China’s potential plans. When questioned about what the US thought China might give to Russia, he responded that it would mainly be weapons and ammunition.

The Wagner Group, a mercenary organization that provides Russia with thousands of fighters, is accused of receiving satellite imagery of Ukraine from a Chinese company, for which the US has imposed sanctions.

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According to Mr. Blinken, there is “clearly no distinction between private companies and the state in China.”

He added that it would be “serious problem for us and in our relationship” if China gave Russia weapons.

As a result of the US shooting down an alleged Chinese spy balloon in early February, relations between Washington and Beijing were already tense. Despite the heated words that were exchanged, both parties appeared embarrassed by the situation and eager to move on.

However, US-Chinese relations would worsen significantly if China were to send weapons to support Russian forces in Ukraine.

The purpose of Mr. Blinken’s warning appears to be to prevent China from taking that action.

Additionally, Mr. Blinken stated that the US was concerned about China assisting Russia in evading Western sanctions intended to harm Russia’s economy. Russia’s largest market for its oil, gas, and coal is China, where bilateral trade has increased.

Tanks are among the weapons, ammunition, and equipment being sent to Ukraine by NATO members, including the US. They have refrained from sending fighter jets, and Mr. Blinken declined to comment on whether the US would assist other nations in providing jets.

He declared, “We have been very clear that we should not fixate or focus on any particular weapons system.”

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Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, gave a speech on Saturday in Munich.

However, he added that the West needed to make sure Ukraine had the resources it would need “in the months ahead” for a potential counteroffensive against Russia. In the eastern parts of Ukraine, where some of the war’s fiercest fighting has occurred, Russia is currently attempting to advance.

According to Reuters, Mr. Wang claimed yesterday in Munich that China had “neither stood by idly nor thrown fuel on the fire” for the Ukraine war.

Wang said that China would publish a document outlining its stance on resolving the conflict. According to him, the document would state that every country’s territorial integrity must be respected.

I recommend that everyone begin to consider our options for putting an end to this war calmly, especially our friends in Europe, Mr. Wang said.

Without identifying them, he continued that “some forces seem to not want negotiations to succeed, or for the war to end soon.”

According to Antonio Tajani, the foreign minister of Italy, the Chinese President, Mr. Xi, will give a “peace speech” on Friday, February 24, the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to Reuters, Mr. Tajani predicted that Mr. Xi would promote peace in his speech without criticizing Russia.

Mr. Blinken and Mr. Wang also had a heated discussion about the ongoing dispute over the allegedly Chinese spy balloon that was shot down over the US during their meeting.

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The US would not “stand for any violation of our sovereignty,” according to Mr. Blinken, who also stated that “this irresponsible act must never again occur.”

According to Mr. Blinken, China’s “surveillance balloon program” across five continents has other countries worried.

The incident, according to Mr. Wang, was a “political farce manufactured by the US,” who he charged with “using all available means to block and suppress China.” Sending a spy balloon has been denied by China.

Additionally, Beijing issued a warning on Sunday morning, saying that if the US escalated the dispute over the balloon, it would “bear all the consequences.” In the event “the US insists on taking advantage of the issue,” China said in a statement from its foreign ministry, as quoted by Reuters, it would “follow through to the end.”

On Sunday, the complete interview with CBS, the BBC’s US broadcasting partner, is scheduled to air.

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