The United States is talking to close allies about the possibility of imposing new sanctions on China if Beijing provides military aid to Russia for its war in Ukraine, according to four US officials and other sources.
The consultations, which are still at an early stage, aim to garner support from a range of countries, particularly those in the wealthy Group of 7 (G7), to coordinate support for any possible sanctions.
It was not clear what specific sanctions Washington would propose. The talks have not been disclosed earlier.
The White House and the US Treasury Department, a lead agency on the sanctions, declined to comment.
Washington and its allies have said in recent weeks that China is considering providing arms to Russia, which Beijing denies. US President Joe Biden’s aides have not publicly provided evidence.
He has also warned China directly against doing so, including during an in-person meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as on February 18 between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi. Is. Global Security Conference in Munich
Sources familiar with the matter said early steps by the Biden administration to counter Chinese support for Russia include informal outreach to staff and at diplomatic levels, including at the Treasury Department.
He said officials were laying the groundwork for possible action against Beijing with the core group of countries most supportive of sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine a year ago.
A country official consulted by Washington said he had seen little intelligence supporting the claims about China considering possible military aid to Russia. However, a US official said that they were providing a detailed description of the intelligence to the allies.
China’s role in the Russia-Ukraine war is expected to be among the topics when Biden meets with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House on Friday. Before that, foreign ministers of dozens of countries including Russia, China and America will discuss the war in New Delhi on Wednesday and Thursday.
Last week China issued a 12-point letter calling for a comprehensive ceasefire, which was met with skepticism in the West.
The sources said the initial approach by Washington on sanctions has yet to lead to broad agreement on any specific measures.
One source said the administration wanted to raise the idea of coordinated sanctions earlier and “take the pulse” on detecting any shipments from China to Russia, which declared “no borders” shortly before the invasion on February 24 last year. The partnership was announced. ,
A second source said, “On the G7 front, I think there is real awareness,” but added that detailed measures focused on China have not yet come into force.
Can China Derail the Conflict?
The Ukraine conflict has settled into a grinding trench war. With Russia short of ammunition, Ukraine and its backers fear that supplies from China could tilt the conflict to Russia’s advantage.
As part of a related diplomatic push, Washington used language in a February 24 G7 statement to mark the first anniversary of the war that called for “third-countries” to “stop providing material support to Russia’s war, or face serious costs”. called upon to confront.
Although the statement did not name China, the US imposed new fines on individuals and companies accused of helping Russia evade sanctions. The measures include export restrictions on companies in China and elsewhere that would prevent them from buying goods such as semiconductors.
Daniel Krittenbrink, the top US diplomat for East Asia, told Congress this week, “We have tried to signal our concerns very clearly, privately in Munich and then publicly.” “We’ve talked about the implications and consequences if they do. And we also know that many of our like-minded partners share those concerns.”
Among the challenges the United States faces in imposing sanctions on China, the world’s second-largest economy, is its full integration into the major economies of Europe and Asia, complicating negotiations. US allies from Germany to South Korea are reluctant to isolate China.
Anthony Ruggiero, a sanctions expert under former President Donald Trump, said the Biden administration has the leeway to economically restrict private actors within China and by doing so could deter the government and banks from providing further support.
“Then the administration can send messages to China publicly and privately, with the latter being more explicit, that the US will escalate sanctions to target Chinese banks with the full range of options available,” said Ruggiero, now a director of the foundation. With for the Democracy Defense Group.
Washington must choose between giving China access to the US financial system or aiding Russia’s war, Ruggiero said, citing the approach of sanctions on Iran and North Korea.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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