Ties between China and the US appear to have deteriorated further after Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s warning that the US will respond if Beijing provides ‘lethal aid’ help Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The warning, delivered by Blinken at a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Europe on the weekend, comes at a time when US-China relations have already been dragged down by the spy balloon affair.
China said on Monday that the United States was in no position to make demands, after the top US diplomat warned his Chinese counterpart against China providing weapons to Russia in its war in Ukraine.
“The United States is in no position to make demands of China,” foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a regular daily briefing in Beijing, when asked about US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s comments.
Wang Wenbin was speaking as Beijing’s top diplomat Wang Yi was expected to arrive in Moscow, days after he met Blinken on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich.
“China’s comprehensive collaborative partnership with Russia is based on the basis of non-alignment, non-confrontation and non-targeting of third parties, and is a matter within the sovereignty of two independent countries,” Wang Wenbin said.
He was referring to the “no limits” partnership struck just over a year ago between Beijing and Moscow, weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We will never accept the US pointing fingers at Sino-Russian relations or even coercing us,” Wang Wenbin told the briefing in Beijing.
US-China ties have been further strained this month after the US military shot down what it says was a Chinese spy balloon that had drifted over the United States.
Spy balloon ‘loitered’ over sensitive sites: Blinken
China says the balloon was a civilian research vessel that was accidentally blown off course, calling the US response an over-reaction.
However, Blinken made clear in an interview with the ABC news network in the US he regards Beijing’s denial as rubbish.
“I can’t say dispositively what the original intent was, but that doesn’t matter because what we saw when it was over the United States was clearly an attempt to surveil very sensitive military sites,” Blinken said on ABC’s “This Week” in an interview taped on Saturday.
“The balloon went over many of them. It, in some cases, loitered,” he said.
“We took measures to protect that information. We took measures to get information about the balloon. And I think we’ll know more when we … actually get the remains.”
Since the balloon incident, which led Blinken to postpone a planned trip to Beijing, Chinese state media has been especially critical in its coverage of the United States.
On Monday, state media released a lengthy report accusing the United States of seeking political, military, economic, technological and cultural “hegemony” since World War Two.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard