Washington cautions China against giving Russia lethal assistance

The first formal meeting between Washington and China after the downing of the spy balloon included tense discussions.

During a tense meeting between the senior diplomats of the two countries on Saturday that addressed a number of Sino-American issues, the US stated it is “extremely concerned” that China may soon provide Russia with lethal weapons to aid in its conflict against Ukraine.

Since the US fired down a suspected Chinese spy balloon that was flying over North America earlier this month, senior Washington and Beijing officials had not directly interacted until the candid discussions between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China’s top foreign policy official Wang Yi.

Blinken requested China stop using spy balloons above the US during the discussion.

He also emphasised that any material help provided by Beijing to the Russian military would have “severe consequences” for US-China ties.

Following the talks, China’s foreign ministry released a resolute statement, emphasising that Wang only met with Blinken at the US’s request.

Beijing declared that it will never consent to any attempts by the US to “dictate” the conditions of its relations with Moscow.

Wang also reaffirmed China’s stance on the balloon incident, claiming that shooting it down was against international law.

He urged the US to “turn course” and mend the harm its “abuse of force” caused to the two countries’ relationship.

Two weeks after the incident that caused Blinken to abruptly abandon a planned trip to China, the meeting, according to both sides’ reports, showed little sign of tensions diminishing.

Blinken stated to US television network NBC that Washington was growing more concerned that China’s political support for Russia could soon escalate to sending arms and ammunition for its war in Ukraine. 

This scenario could further strain diplomatic relations.

According to a state department spokesperson, Blinken reminded Wang that the US was “not aiming for a new cold war.”

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