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Reuters: US has no immediate sanctions plan for China, sources say

Today, US Secretary of State Blinken is starting three days of talks with senior Chinese officials in Shanghai and Beijing, during which he will personally warn China of potential economic measures after reports found it has been supporting Russia’s defense industry with vital comptonents.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (L) and Chinese leader Xi Jinping (R) pose for a photograph during their meeting in Beijing in February 2022. Image: Sputnik
Reuters: US has no immediate sanctions plan for China, sources say

While Washington seeks ways to limit Beijing’s support for the Russian war machine, the US has preliminarily discussed sanctions on some Chinese banks but has not yet designed a plan to implement such measures, Reuters has reported.

According to an anonymous official, there are currently no immediate plans to impose sanctions on Chinese banks, with officials hopeful that diplomatic efforts will prevent the need for such actions.

In recent weeks, US officials have increased pressure on China, warning that Washington is prepared to impose restrictions on Chinese financial institutions involved in trading goods with both civilian and military applications.

Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced criticism against China’s support for Russia’s defense industry, stating that Beijing was the key contributor to Russia’s war in Ukraine as it supplied essential components for weapons.

According to an official cited in the Bloomberg report, China supplies Russia with various critical materials, including for manufacturing cruise missiles, drones, and military optics for tanks and armored vehicles. The officials, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, stated that without these Chinese-supplied components, Russia’s military-industrial base would struggle to sustain its war effort.

The Associated Press report, citing two unnamed senior Biden administration officials, provided additional details. They stated that in the last quarter of 2023, around 70% of Russia’s machine tool imports and 90% of its microelectronics imports came from China, which Russia has used to produce missiles, tanks, and aircraft for the conflict in Ukraine.

The US has previously targeted smaller Chinese banks, such as the Bank of Kunlun, with sanctions for various reasons, including their links with Iranian institutions.

However, Washington has hesitated to apply sanctions to major Chinese banks – a move often seen as a last resort – due to concerns about its significant impact on the global economy and US-China relations.

A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry strongly objected to the US’s unfounded accusations regarding regular trade exchanges with Russia.

“We firmly oppose the US’s hypocritical accusations, as China has the right to engage in normal economic and trade activities with other countries, including Russia.

“We are firmly opposed to the hypocritical practice of the US side itself pouring fuel but blaming the Chinese side.

“China’s right to conduct normal economic and trade exchanges with other countries, including Russia, is inviolable,” said Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry.

Amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, Beijing and Moscow have increased trade in yuan instead of the dollar, potentially shielding their economies from US measures. Meanwhile, the US and other Western nations imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia’s financial system after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Today, US Secretary of State Blinken is starting three days of talks with senior Chinese officials in Shanghai and Beijing, during which he will personally warn China of potential sanctions over military aid to Russia, reports said.

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

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.

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