China open to aiding Russia
"We have seen China basically give tacit approval to what Russia is doing by refusing to join sanctions," the official said.
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The United States has informed its allies that China has signaled its willingness to support Russia with military assistance, sources told the Financial Times on Monday.
The U.S. State Department reportedly sent cables to allies in Europe and Asia about China's willingness to help Russia, but details such as when Beijing would assist and to what level did not feature in the messages.
U.S. officials on Sunday told several media outlets that Russia had asked China for military equipment and aid, Just the News reported.
The source, described as a senior U.S. defense official, would not tell the Financial Times if China followed through on Russia's request but said the Pentagon is observing the events "very, very closely."
"If China does choose to materially support Russia in this war, there will likely be consequences for China," the official told the outlet.
Russia and its oligarchs are already facing tough economic sanctions and private U.S. businesses have started suspending activities in the country. It remains unclear whether China would face similar consequences for helping Russia.
"We have seen China basically give tacit approval to what Russia is doing by refusing to join sanctions, by blaming the West and the United States for assistance that we’re giving Ukraine [and] by claiming they wanted to see a peaceful outcome but essentially doing nothing to achieve it," the official told the Financial Times.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Sunday warned Beijing against providing assistance to the Kremlin, but he did not say what the United States would do if China got involved.
"We will ensure that neither China, nor anyone else, can compensate Russia for these losses," Sullivan told NBC's "Meet the Press."
"In terms of the specific means of doing that, again, I’m not going to lay all of that out in public, but we will communicate that privately to China, as we have already done and will continue to do," he said.
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