U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who is due to meet with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday, warned Beijing it would “absolutely” face consequences if it helped Moscow evade sweeping sanctions over the war in Ukraine.
Russia asked China for military equipment after its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, sparking concern in the White House that Beijing may undermine Western efforts to help Ukrainian forces defend their country, several U.S. officials said.
Sullivan plans in his meeting with Yang to make Washington’s concerns clear while mapping out the consequences and growing isolation China would face globally if it increases its support of Russia, one U.S. official said, without providing details.
Asked about Russia’s request for military aid, first reported by the Financial Times, Liu Pengyu, spokesperson for China’s embassy in Washington, said: “I’ve never heard of that.”
He said China found the current situation in Ukraine “disconcerting” and added: “We support and encourage all efforts that are conducive to a peaceful settlement of the crisis.”
Liu said “utmost efforts should be made to support Russia and Ukraine in carrying forward negotiations despite the difficult situation to produce a peaceful outcome.”
Sullivan told CNN on Sunday that Washington believed China was aware Russia was planning some action in Ukraine before the invasion took place, although Beijing may not have understood the full extent of what was planned.