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US warns China about providing 'lethal support' to Russia

February 19, 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told US media that China providing Russia with lethal support would "cause a serious problem" for the United States.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pictured at the Munich Security Conference
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US has information that Beijing was considering providing lethal support to RussiaImage: David Josek/REUTERS

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned that any attempt by China to supply Russia with "lethal support" for use in Ukraine would have serious implications.

In an interview with US network CBS News, Blinken said that, to date, Chinese companies had been providing non-lethal support to Russia.

What did Blinken say?

Blinken pointed out that Washington had been watching developments between China and Russia very closely.

"Just weeks before the aggression, you will remember that President Xi and President Putin had a meeting in which they talked about a partnership with no limits, and we were concerned that among the lack of limits would be Chinese support for Russia in the war," Blinken said.

"The concern that we have now is, based on information we have, that they're considering providing lethal support," Blinken told CBS news anchor Margaret Brennan. "We've made it very clear to them that would cause a very serious problem for us and in our relationship." 

The top US diplomat said, "There's a whole gambit of things that fit in that category, everything from ammunition to the weapons themselves."

Chinese balloon, another bone of contention

The issue of providing lethal support is not the only matter impacting relations between the two states.

On Saturday, Blinken and China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, the first high-level meeting since a spat erupted between Washington and Beijing over a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that was shot down after it was discovered drifting over the US.

Blinken had canceled a scheduled trip to Beijing earlier this month over to the balloon incident, which has become a major point of contention between the two countries.

Wang accused the US of violating international norms with "hysterical" behavior by shooting down the balloon, which Beijing claims was monitoring weather conditions and had blown off course.

kb/sms (Reuters, AFP)