Beijing has strongly denied US claims that China was considering arming Russia in its war against Ukraine as it called for “peace-loving” nations to act to end the conflict.
A Chinese spokesperson said on Monday the United States is in no position to make demands after US top diplomat Antony Blinken warned Beijing against providing weapons to Russia in the war against Ukraine.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China “will never accept the US pointing fingers at Sino-Russian relations or even coercing us”.
“It is the United States and not China that is endlessly shipping weapons to the battlefield,” Wang said. “We urge the United States to earnestly reflect on its own actions and do more to alleviate the situation, promote peace and dialogue, and stop shifting blame and spreading false information.”
His comments come after Blinken expressed “deep concerns” about the “possibility that China will provide lethal material support to Russia”.
“To date, we have seen Chinese companies … provide non-lethal support to Russia for use in Ukraine. The concern that we have now is based on information we have that they’re considering providing lethal support,” Blinken told CBS News after he met China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference.
Wang Wenbin said the US was “in no position to make demands of China”.
He also pointed to Beijing’s “collaborative partnership” with Moscow, which he said was built on the basis of non-alignment and non-confrontation.
On the back of Blinken’s remarks, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on Monday that China potentially providing arms to Moscow “would be a red line” in the bloc’s relationship with Beijing.
Borrell said he expressed his “strong concern” to Wang Yi and asked him to refrain from arms deliveries to Russia.
“He told me that they are not going to do it, that they don’t plan to do it. But we will remain vigilant,” Borrell told journalists.
Borrell, meanwhile, said the European Union needs to ensure Ukraine has enough ammunition to continue its fight against the Russian invasion.
“It is the most urgent issue. If we fail on that, the result of the war is in danger,” he said. “The Russian artillery shoots about 50,000 shots a day, and Ukraine needs to be at the same level of capacity. They have cannons but they lack ammunition.”
Wang Yi – who is due to visit Russia this week on the one-year anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine – called for negotiations and peace for the sake of the world and Europe in particular.
“We would like a political solution to provide a peaceful and sustainable framework to Europe,” Wang said in Hungary ahead of his visit to Moscow.
Wang said the world was afflicted by disorder and wars and “peace-loving countries [should] bring the current hostilities to a halt as soon as possible”.
In February last year, shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine, China promised a “no limits” partnership with Russia, which set off alarm bells in the West.
China has refrained from condemning the war in Ukraine or calling it an “invasion”, blaming the US and NATO for provoking the Kremlin. It also denounced the sanctions imposed on Russia.
Since the war started, Beijing and Moscow’s economic links have boomed as Moscow’s connections with the West have shriveled.
The West has criticised China’s response to the Ukraine war with some warning a Russian victory would colour China’s actions towards Taiwan.
Relations between the US and China have further deteriorated since Washington said China flew a spy balloon over the country before US fighter jets shot it down on President Joe Biden’s orders.