A senior United States ambassador has warned China that if it provides “material support” to Vladimir Putin’s conflict in Ukraine, it will face penalties, while also promising to assist India in weaning itself off Russian arms.
At an event in Brussels on Thursday, United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman claimed that China was not helping the situation in Ukraine by doing things like magnifying Russian disinformation operations.
United States Deputy Secretary Sherman expresses optimism
She expressed optimism that Beijing will take the “correct lessons” from Russia’s conflict, such as the fact that it cannot separate the United States from its allies.
Sherman told an audience at an event hosted by Friends of Europe, which is co-funded by the European Union, that “they have seen what we have done in terms of sanctions, export controls, designations, vis-a-vis Russia, so it should give them some idea of the menu from which we could choose if indeed China were to provide material support.”
Given the impact of global sanctions on Russia’s arms industry, Sherman also stated that the United States would cooperate with India to help it transition away from its historic reliance on Russian weapons.
“They see that their military, which was created on Russian weaponry, is unlikely to have a future with Russian weapons because our sanctions have pushed Russia’s military-industrial complex back — and it isn’t coming back any time soon,” she said.
China indicated this week that it intends to continue building strategic ties with Russia, demonstrating that the relationship is still strong despite rising concerns about Putin’s forces committing war crimes.
At the same time, despite the government’s objections based on sovereignty, Chinese enterprises have been complying with United States sanctions.
India has maintained a similar stance on the war as China, backing demands for a cease-fire and diplomatic solution but voting against draught resolutions denouncing Russia at the United Nations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has told President Joe Biden that Russia’s weaponry is needed to safeguard India’s border with China and that the alternatives are too expensive.
Meanwhile, a top official for the Czech Republic, which will take over the rotating presidency of the European Union later this year, warned Beijing that any cooperation with Moscow may jeopardize ties with Brussels.
In Prague, Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa met with a group led by Huo Yuzhen, China’s special envoy to Central and Eastern Europe, to discuss the “16-plus-1” structure that Beijing has used to build tighter ties in the former Soviet bloc.
In an emailed statement, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lenka Do said, “We used the meeting to voice again our reservations over present Chinese cooperation with Russia.”
“Any form of Chinese backing for Russia will harm its relationship with the EU,” the Czechs have already warned, she wrote.