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The Biden administration has “deep concerns” about China’s “alignment” with Russia amid Moscow’s multi-front war against Ukraine, a senior administration official said Monday.
The official briefed reporters after White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan completed an “intense seven-hour session” in Rome, Italy, with the director of Chinese Foreign Affairs Commission Yang Jiechi Monday.
“Mr. Sullivan raised a range of issues in U.S.-China relations, with substantial discussion of Russia’s war against Ukraine,” the White House said after the meeting.
The meeting, which had been scheduled “quite some time ago” following President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s virtual meeting in November, came after U.S. intelligence officials said Russia asked China for military and economic aid following its invasion of Ukraine. In an attempt to protect intelligence sources, U.S. officials have been reluctant to detail what type of aid is being sought.
“We do have deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia at this time, and the national security adviser was direct about those concerns and the potential implications and consequences of certain actions,” the official said, without commenting directly to the reports that Russia had requested aid from China after invading Ukraine.
The official, though, maintained that the Biden administration is “communicating directly and privately to China about our concerns about the kinds of support that other countries might be providing to Russia.”
Sullivan, ahead of the meeting, warned that there “will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them.”
“We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world,” Sullivan said.
Chinese leaders have declined to rebuke Putin for his invasion of Ukraine and have come out against Western economic sanctions. China has abstained in multiple United Nations votes from censuring Russia.
Meanwhile, the State Department on Monday said it is “watching very closely the extent the PRC provides any kind of support to Russia,” noting that any kind of support “would be of great concern to us.”