White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Thursday said China had not yet “crossed” any lines as Beijing looks to strengthen ties with Russia amid its war in Ukraine.
“We have not seen China move forward with any form of direct military assistance to Ukraine, and we’ve not seen them undertake systematic efforts to help the Russians evade the sanctions and export controls,” Sullivan told reporters from the White House.
China has come under international condemnation for its refusal to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine.
President Biden has vowed that there will be “consequences” if Beijing is discovered to have been aiding Moscow skirt international sanctions for its deadly war.
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A readout yesterday regarding a call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping further called into question where China stands in the divided global arena.
China abstained from voting in March with 141 other nations in the U.N. General Assembly to pass a resolution condemning Putin’s war.
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Beijing then voted against a U.N. General Assembly resolution to suspend Russia’s membership in the U.N. Human Rights Council in April.
“They’re taking a very careful approach to this,” Sullivan told reporters Thursday. “And on the issues that we have pressed them particularly hard on — the provision of assistance, the evasion of sanctions — we believe that China has not taken steps that crossed those lines.”
According to a readout released Wednesday by the Chinese foreign ministry, Xi and Putin reportedly touted the fact that, despite global turmoil, this year their relations have maintained a “good momentum.”
The ministry said China and Russia will continue to “support each other on issues concerning core interests and major concerns such as sovereignty and security,” as well as maintaining strategic coordination on a global scale.
Putin reportedly also backed China’s position when it comes to “internal” affairs that Western nations, including the U.S., have been deeply critical of, like human right abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, along with sovereign issues relating to Taiwan.