Blinken says China is Russia’s primary military complex supplier

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized Chinese support for Russia’s defense industry, highlighting China’s pivotal role in fueling Moscow’s actions in Ukraine through the provision of critical components for weaponry. Speaking at a news conference after a gathering of G7 foreign ministers on the Italian island of Capri, Blinken underscored Washington’s firm stance against any assistance to Russia’s war effort, cautioning that China cannot simultaneously seek positive relations with Europe while aiding Russia’s aggression.

“We see China sharing machine tools, semiconductors, other dual-use items that have helped Russia rebuild the defense industrial base that sanctions and export controls had done so much to degrade,” Blinken elaborated. “Now, if China purports on the one hand to want good relations with Europe and other countries, it can’t on the other hand be fueling what is the biggest threat to European security since the end of the Cold War.”

In addition, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock echoed Blinken’s concerns, emphasizing the incompatibility of China’s partnership with Russia amid its illegal war against Ukraine. The gravity of the situation was further highlighted by U.S. officials who disclosed China’s provision of materials, including drone and missile technology, aiding Russia’s military buildup for its ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Despite assertions from a Chinese embassy spokesperson that normal trade should not be hindered, the issue has been raised at the highest levels of diplomacy, with President Joe Biden discussing it with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In February 2023, China proposed a “peace plan” to stop the war in Ukraine, which called for direct negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv, without any notion of Russia withdrawing its troops from occupied Ukrainian territory. In March 2024, Chinese diplomats reiterated Beijing’s position, saying that the conflict would have to be resolved through negotiations that need to “take Russian interests into account.” Chinese firms are playing an increasingly key role in propping up Russia’s struggling economy and boosting its military capabilities, including via the trade of goods for use on the battlefield in Ukraine, as reported by CNBC.

President Joe Biden raised the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a phone call earlier this month, marking their first conversation since an in-person meeting last November. Blinken met with Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday and raised concerns this week with Chinese officials over the country’s support for Russia. Blinken’s trip to China signifies a diplomatic effort to address these concerns directly, marking his second visit since a previous mission aimed at mitigating U.S.-China tensions. Russia would struggle to sustain its assault on Ukraine without China’s support,” Blinken said at a press conference in Beijing Friday.

Blinken’s discussions with Chinese officials coincide with efforts by the U.S. and China to maintain communication channels amid ongoing tensions. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, exacerbated by external support, threatens to destabilize not only the region but also global peace and security. As diplomatic efforts intensify, the outcome of discussions between the U.S. and China holds significant implications for future geopolitical dynamics. It underscores the imperative for a concerted international effort to address conflicts and uphold principles of peace and stability on a global scale.