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Blinken to personally warn China of potential sanctions over military aid to Russia

US Secretary of State to visit Shanghai and Beijing from April 24-26.
Blinken to personally warn China of potential sanctions over military aid to Russia
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. Photo: Blinken via X/Twitter
Blinken to personally warn China of potential sanctions over military aid to Russia

The US is prepared to sanction China if Beijing continues providing Russia with dual-use technologies to aid its military, according to reports. This stark warning will be delivered personally by Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his 24-26 April visit to China, according to reports from Bloomberg and the Financial Times.

Blinken aims to convey that the US and allies are increasingly intolerant of China supplying Russia’s defense sector with items like semiconductors and machinery. These supplies have helped Moscow offset the impact of export controls imposed by Western nations in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

“The primary contributor to Russia’s defense industrial base is China,” Blinken stated during a briefing on Friday.

While not specifying potential measures, sources indicate the US is considering sanctions on Chinese financial institutions and entities. One source called it “the clearest warning” ever issued to Chinese officials.

US Deputy Secretary of state Kurt Campbell said China is undermining European security by arming Russia while pursuing closer EU ties. He stated the US is being “very direct” with its concerns, which Blinken will reiterate to Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

“What we’ve tried to underscore with European and Chinese interlocutors is that these dual objectives are inconsistent, and that we want China to think very carefully about the way forward,” he said.

Blinken follows Treasury Secretary Yellen, who warned of “significant consequences” like sanctions if Chinese banks back Russia’s Ukraine war.

“The modus operandi for Blinken and all these official visits is: maintain dialogue amid undeniable escalation,” said Bloomberg Reva Goujon, a director at the corporate advisory firm Rhodium Group. “You can call it a dialogue, but it’s not much of a dialogue right now, because the two sides are very much talking past each other.”

While the US hopes the threat of punitive measures will persuade China to change course, it is also urging European countries to take action. One person familiar with the deliberations told the FT that Europe had imposed sanctions on only three Chinese groups since Russia’s invasion two years ago, compared to 100 such actions against Chinese entities by Washington.

In 2023, 90% of chips Russia imported came from China and were used to produce missiles, tanks and aircraft, while 70% of Russian machine tool imports were from China and “likely used” to produce ballistic missiles, the FT reports.

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