The United States is considering releasing intelligence on China’s potential weapons transfer to aid its ally Russia in its war with Ukraine amid “concerns about the economic and political fallout of a failed Russia,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
The US news outlet suggested that China MAY be considering supplying ammunition, electronics that have been blocked by sanctions, or even long-range artillery systems, rocket launchers, or anti-tank or surface-to-surface missiles – as it is a world leader in the production of such weapons, which have been heavily used in the war.
However, that clearly depends on whether China’s stance really has shifted. Some analysts doubt that China would make such a move, as that could be a risky and momentous shift.
Beijing has previously been cautious to limit its support for Moscow to buying Russian oil and selling items such as microchips and drones – for fear of incurring sanctions from the West which have the potential to ravage the Chinese economy and split the global trading system.
Global tensions have already been cranked up significantly this week with Russian leader Vladimir Putin suspending the last nuclear weapons treaty it signed with the US and threatening to deploy Sarmat nuclear missiles.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave a formal warning to Wang Yi, China’s top foreign affairs official, in a tense bilateral meeting in Munich last Saturday on what would happen if Beijing provides lethal aid to Ukraine.
Shortly after, Blinken told CBS News that China was seriously exploring supplying arms to Russia.
Beijing has said it will release details of a proposal to bring peace in Ukraine on February 24, but there is enormous scepticism in the US and Europe over such a move.
Meanwhile, Blinken is also due to address the UN Security Council to mark the one-year anniversary of the war.
British author and long-term Asia correspondent Ian Williams noted in a report for the Daily Mail on Wednesday that “if Xi becomes an open partner in Putin’s barbarity, the three-way relationship between the superpowers will be transformed… [and] the world will be split between two blocs: free and not free.”
The war in Ukraine would be prolonged, but if the West ends up severing trade ties with China the ramifications would be far more serious – “an economic earthquake that would dwarf anything seen with Russia over Ukraine” because of western reliance on Chinese production.
So, it makes for an interesting day on Friday. Global tensions are high and markets are nervous.
- Jim Pollard