EU leaders are in possession of “very reliable evidence” that China is considering military assistance to Russia, a senior EU official told POLITICO, threatening potential trade measures if weapons’ deliveries go ahead.
It follows a similar warning from U.S. officials earlier this week that the Russian government had asked China for military equipment and other support, as POLITICO and other media outlets reported. A subsequent Financial Times report said China signaled openness to the request. It is not immediately clear whether the latest EU information derives from the same sources or Europe’s own intelligence.
“EU leaders have very reliable evidence that China is considering providing military aid to Russia. All the leaders are very aware of what’s going on,” the senior EU official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly about confidential information.
He did not say what kind of assistance Moscow had requested.
“We are concerned about the fact that China is flirting with the Russians,” he added. The EU will “impose trade barriers against China” should Beijing proceed with Russia’s request, he said, as “this is the only language Beijing understands.” [Continue reading…]
President Joe Biden’s two-hour video call with China’s President Xi Jinping on Friday exposed a deepening divide between the leaders’ positions on both the Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s claims to Taiwan.
Biden’s outreach failed to prod Xi to commit to leveraging Chinese influence to end Russia’s aggression in Ukraine or to even use the term “invasion.” The call instead provoked Xi’s implicit criticism of the alleged U.S. role in fomenting the crisis, perceived U.S. meddling in Taiwan and bitterness toward threatened U.S. sanctions against China if it aids Russia’s war effort.
That rancor suggests that the two leaders have exhausted any residual goodwill created by their virtual meeting in November and will likely reaffirm the Biden administration’s China policy that hinges on rallying allies to counter its influence in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. [Continue reading…]