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Blinken Says China Assured It Won’t Send Weapons to Russia

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China has assured the United States and other countries that it won’t supply Russia lethal aid that could be used against Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on June 19.

Blinken, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Beijing since President Joe Biden took office in 2021, said there was no evidence suggesting that the Chinese regime has transferred weapons or provided lethal aid to Russia.

“With regard to lethal aid to Russia for use in Ukraine, we and other countries have received assurances from China that it is not and will not provide lethal assistance to Russia for use in Ukraine,” he told reporters.

Blinken acknowledged that Beijing had provided similar assurances “in recent weeks,” not just during his visit.

However, the U.S. diplomat said there were concerns about Chinese firms providing Russia with technology that could be used against Ukraine and urged the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to be vigilant on that.

“What we are concerned about is private companies in China that may be providing assistance, in some cases dual use, in some cases clearly directed at enhancing Russia’s military capacity in Ukraine,” he said.

“That is a concern, and it’s something that I pointed out to our Chinese counterparts and urged that they be vigilant in policing that,” Blinken added.

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese leader Xi Jinping (R) receives U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken prior to their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 19, 2023. (Leah Millis/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Blinken met with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on June 18 before holding talks with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on June 19. Unlike talks with Qin and Wang, which lasted several hours, his meeting with Xi lasted about 35 minutes.

The Biden administration has long feared that the CCP could choose to provide lethal aid to Russia in addition to the economic and diplomatic support it already gives the Kremlin.

Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said on Feb. 24 that while there was no evidence of China directly sending weapons to Russia, the CCP had not ruled out such a possibility.

Such a decision, he said, would indicate that Chinese communist authorities seek to destroy Ukraine outright, and would needlessly extend the continued suffering and death of innocent Ukrainians.

“Broadly speaking, what you would be seeing is a country like China, which clearly has advanced capabilities and munitions, [and] which has publicly declared its neutrality, to now take a side and say ‘we want to be in the camp that’s looking to extinguish Ukraine as a nation,’” Ryder said.

“It would prolong this conflict. It would cause needless suffering among innocent Ukrainians,” he added.

US Won’t Provide Technology to China

Blinken said that Washington will not provide China access to its technology due to national security concerns. He made clear that the decision was not aimed at cutting economic relations with China.

“But at the same time, as I said, it’s not in our interest to provide technology to China that could be used against us,” Blinken told reporters in Beijing.

“At a time when it’s engaged in a buildup of its nuclear weapons program in a very opaque way, when it’s producing hypersonic missiles, when it’s using technology for repressive purposes against its own people, how is it in our interest to provide those specific technologies to China? And other countries feel the same way,” he added.

The CCP has refused to resume direct military communication with the United States despite Blinken’s “repeated” efforts to raise the issue during his two-day trip.

Asked why Washington would want to continue engaging with China despite the apparent unwillingness to have open military communications from the other side, Blinken argued that such efforts are necessary to make changes happen.

“We’re not going to have success on every issue between us on any given day, but in a whole variety of areas—on the terms that we set for this trip, we have made progress, and we are moving forward,” he said.

Relations between the United States and China have soured over several issues, including Hong Kong and particularly Taiwan, a self-governing island that China regards as its own and has vowed to seize by any means necessary.

Earlier this month, a Chinese warship came within 150 yards of colliding with a U.S. destroyer during a Canada-U.S. joint sailing mission through the Taiwan Strait. Washington described the naval maneuver as “unsafe,” while Beijing defended its actions by accusing the “countries concerned” of deliberately provoking risks.

Andrew Thornebrooke, Eva Fu, Dorothy Li, and Frank Fang contributed to this report.

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