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China faces consequences if it helps Russia evade sanctions over Ukraine - Sullivan

World Mar 13, 2022 08:40PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks to the news media about the situation in Ukraine during a daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 11, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

By Andrea Shalal, Michael Martina and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -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.

After the invasion began, Russia sought both military equipment and support from China, the U.S. officials said.

Sullivan told CNN Washington was watching closely to see to what extent Beijing provided economic or material support to Russia, and would impose consequences if that occurred.

"We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing, that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them," Sullivan said. "We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world."

The meeting, planned for some time, is part of a broader effort by Washington and Beijing to maintain open channels of communication and manage competition between the world's two largest economies, a senior Biden administration official said.

No specific outcomes were expected, the source added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the meeting's focus was to "implement the important consensus" reached during the virtual meeting held between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden in November, which discussed "strategic stability" and arms control issues.

The two sides will exchange views on U.S.-China relations as well as international and regional issues of common concern, he said in a statement published on the ministry's website.

Wang Huiyao, head of a Beijing think tank and adviser to the Chinese government, warned of "an escalatory spiral" in a column published in the New York Times on Sunday, and said China was "uniquely positioned to act as a neutral mediator between a Western-supported Ukraine and Russia" to end the war.

"Unpalatable as some in the West may find the idea, it is time to offer the Russian leader an off-ramp with China’s help," Wang wrote.

U.S. officials were skeptical about the proposal given China's ties to Russia and its spreading of misinformation related to the war.

CHINA, RUSSIA TRADE TIES

The United States on Saturday said it would rush up to $200 million worth of additional weapons to Ukrainian forces as they try to defend against Russian shelling in the largest war in Europe since World War Two.

Washington and its allies have imposed sweeping, unprecedented sanctions against Russia and banned its energy imports, while providing billions of dollars of military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

Individually and together they have appealed to China, Gulf nations and others that have failed to condemn the Russian invasion to join in isolating Russia from the global economy.

Beijing, a key trading partner of Russia, has refused to call Russia's actions an invasion, although Xi last week did call for "maximum restraint" in Ukraine after a virtual meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Xi also expressed concern about the impact of sanctions on global finance, energy supplies, transportation and supply chains, amid growing signs that Western sanctions are limiting China's ability to buy Russian oil.

However, Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the state-backed Chinese Global Times newspaper, said on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR): "If Sullivan thinks he can persuade China to participate in sanctions against Russia, he will be disappointed."

While in Rome, Sullivan will also meet with Luigi Mattiolo, diplomatic adviser to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, to continue coordinating the strong global response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's "war of choice," the U.S. official said.

Washington and the Group of Seven advanced economies on Friday ratcheted up pressure on Russia by calling for revoking its "most favored nation" trade status, which would allow them to jack up tariffs on Russian goods.

Trade made up about 46% of Russia's economy in 2020, much of that with China, its biggest export destination.

China faces consequences if it helps Russia evade sanctions over Ukraine - Sullivan
 

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Comments (18)
Tony Barnes
Tony Barnes Mar 14, 2022 1:39AM ET
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The next US invades another country, the world needs to put a squeeze on US.The same rule must apply to US!!!!
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Mar 14, 2022 12:26AM ET
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russia is insignificant to the chinese economy, compared to the west. They have everything to lose by aiding russia in their war of aggression
Jason Crawford
Jason Crawford Mar 13, 2022 11:15PM ET
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Bwahahahah. US consumers rely heavily on China. You thiink the supply chain is bad now and goods are scarce? Wait until the US tries to impose any restrictions on chinese goods.
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Mar 13, 2022 11:15PM ET
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Your logic is flawed. China's economy is completely dependent on the west, not so much the other way..
Cujo Modded
Cujo Modded Mar 13, 2022 11:01PM ET
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I feel China will abandon Russia in the short run but will come back to help them
William Smith
William Smith Mar 13, 2022 10:34PM ET
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Biden is the weakest US president since Jimmy Carter. Actually is weaker than Carter and that takes some doing.
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Mar 13, 2022 10:34PM ET
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putinbot
Shep De
Shep De Mar 13, 2022 9:51PM ET
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In my opinion, their is still no real.upside for markets in USA even if CHINA listens to USA threats of economic sanctions if support Russia with weapons in this war. Think about it too, USA is making these threats 3 weeks into the war when it should have had a hardline stance before Russia draws ever closer to taking over Ukraine. IMO, Russia will take over Odessa by end of this week and that will really advance war to a new stage because it will create an even worse civilian situation than one currently in Mariopol with civs unable to get out of town from no ceasefire, which is only negotiation I see happening this week, certainly not an end to the war Russia has fully said will not stop until they r complete its "special military operation" to remove leadership in Ukraine, they now have captured the mayor of Southern city, I think, Mariapol, what happens to that mayor is a subject of prayer, really watch this
Jack AAA
Jack_A Mar 13, 2022 9:44PM ET
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what an ugly "leader" face?
Jack AAA
Jack_A Mar 13, 2022 9:44PM ET
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I am glad that the global people are waken up
Gabriel Yu
Gabriel Yu Mar 13, 2022 7:58PM ET
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really? If the Chinese close all ports for export, the west could face most severe inflation. lol
Coccollo Zac
Coccollo Zac Mar 13, 2022 7:58PM ET
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And what happens in China then?
Paul Wu
Paul Wu Mar 13, 2022 7:58PM ET
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there is enough people to consume goods in China...especially if discounted
Cal Cal So
Cal Cal So Mar 13, 2022 7:47PM ET
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China owns LME
Robert Fee
Robert Fee Mar 13, 2022 6:26PM ET
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My thoughts the CCP two years ago released a biological weapon on the world and still to this day have not been held accountable so what do you think will happen if the CCP supports Russia . They wont be held accountable until some country has the *****to stop doing buisness with the CCP period . Maybe if Europe and the US cut them off and we put on some big boy pants wed be better off .
 
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