The US, in a rare agreement with China, has acknowledged that Beijing is not evading sanctions against Russia or providing military aid to Moscow, a senior official said on Thursday.
The official said that recent measures taken against five Chinese companies for helping Russia’s military end users were aimed at the individual entities, not the government or country as a whole. The five were added to the US Entity List.
US officials have warned of consequences, including sanctions, should China offer material support for Russia’s war effort, but have consistently said they have yet to detect overt Chinese military and economic backing of Moscow.
“China is not providing material support. This is normal course-of-business enforcement action against entities that have been backfilling for Russia,” a senior administration official said, referring to the Commerce blacklist.
“We have not seen [China] engage in systematic evasion or provide military equipment to Russia,” the official said.
China Won’t Condemn Russia
The US has set out with allies to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for the invasion by sanctioning Russian companies and oligarchs and adding others to a trade blacklist.
China has refused to condemn Russia’s actions and has criticised the sweeping Western sanctions on Moscow.
Beijing also says that it has not provided military assistance to Russia or Ukraine, but that it would take “necessary measures” to protect the rights of its companies.
The Commerce Department action means US suppliers need a licence before they can ship items to listed companies.
The department also put sanctions on dozens of other entities, including some in allied countries, such as the UK and Lithuania.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell