The Biden administration has confronted China’s government with evidence that suggests some Chinese state-owned firms may be providing assistance for Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, as it tries to ascertain if Beijing is aware of those activities, according to sources.
The sources declined to detail the support except to say that it consists of non-lethal military and economic assistance that stops short of wholesale evasion of the sanctions regime the US and its allies imposed after Russian forces invaded Ukraine.
The trend is worrying enough that US officials have raised the matter with their Chinese counterparts and warned about the implications of supplying material support for the war.
A spokeswoman for the National Security Council declined to comment, as did the Central Intelligence Agency. The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond either. US officials said they agree the Russia-China relationship is extremely close now and China is doing more than it did before in support of Russia.
The people familiar with the administration’s thinking characterised the state-owned enterprises’ activities as knowingly assisting Russia in its war effort. The administration is reviewing the evidence it’s accumulated to determine its significance.
US strategy over Ukraine rests in part on isolating Russian president Putin’s government and seeking to choke off his economy and hinder the war effort. Increased support from China could significantly undercut that strategy.
And if Biden and his advisers determined China’s government was involved in or tacitly accepted the actions of those state-owned enterprises, they would be forced to decide how much to push back.
That could risk opening a whole new area of dispute at a time when the US has sought to balance its desire for stabilised ties with Beijing against moves to limit Chinese access to high-end mircochips and confront China over what it sees as a more aggressive posture toward Taiwan.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to visit Beijing in February, the first visit since the pandemic. US believes China’s government wants to help Russia and isn’t neutral as it claims.
18,000 civilian deaths so far: UN
According to a new report released by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Monday, more than 18,000 civilian casualties have been reported as of January 3, 2023, since the beginning of the war.
As per OHCHR 18,358 civilian casualties were recorded. This includes 7,031 deaths. It also mentions that the “actual figure could be significantly higher as reported victims are confirmed.” Moreover tens of millions of people are in “potential danger of death”