Published 02/23/2023 10:17 am | Edited 2/24/2023 12:18 PM
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says China is now considering supplying Russia with weapons. The statement comes despite China having avoided direct involvement with Russia, while the US has poured gasoline on the fire, since the beginning of the conflict.
With that, the Americans reverse roles with war propaganda that accuses the Chinese of something they systematically do. The same inversion that Joe Biden forges when he says that the nations of the world “refused to accept a world ruled by fear and force”, when he attacks Putin.
“The concern we have now is based on information we have that they are considering providing lethal support, and we made it very clear to them that this would cause a serious problem for us and our relationship,” Blinken told CBS. Blinken clarified that he was referring to weapons and ammunition, but did not say what kind of weapons.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin did not miss it. “It is the US, not China, that is pouring weapons onto the battlefield,” he countered. “The US is not in a position to tell China what to do.”
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Biden had “warned” Chinese President Xi Jinping about the “consequences” if Beijing offered “material support” to Moscow on March 18 last year. A day after Putin’s speech, however, Chinese diplomats visit Russia as a precursor to an official visit by Xi, in an echo of what Biden did with Zelensky.
Although it is Putin’s historic ally, and always threatened by the US, Xi’s government has walked a tightrope, in perfect balance, throughout this time, not least because Russia has not shown signs of needing more consistent support, until then. China has always had good reason to keep militarily strong allies like Russia on its side, considering it has an American military presence close to its seas, just as NATO (the western military treaty created against the USSR) surrounds Russia.
Always in his tone of seeking to pacify the global environment, in June Xi criticized the US, calling the world to “reject the Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation, oppose unilateral sanctions and sanctions abuse, and reject the small circles built around hegemonism,” references to economic sanctions imposed by the US on China and Russia.
But in September, Xi told Putin he had “doubts and concerns” about the war and spoke of the need to “inject stability” into world affairs. He also berated Putin the following month, when Putin and Biden met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia. With that, he demonstrated his lack of interest in fueling a tense environment in an economic world in which the Chinese are already victorious.
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“The international community must jointly oppose the use or threats to use nuclear weapons, advocate that nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought, in order to avoid a nuclear crisis in Eurasia,” Xi said.
Meanwhile, Russia harbors “fears of nuclear war”. In recent decades, it has become clear that a country is not only openly confronted by the Americans, when it guarantees some control over this type of mass destruction weapon.
As early as April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned of the risk of a third world war. “I wouldn’t want to raise those risks artificially. Many would like that. The danger is serious, real. And we shouldn’t underestimate it,” he told Russian state television.
Putin returned to the rhetoric of hinting at a nuclear escalation during his Feb. 21 speech. “I am forced to announce today that Russia is suspending its participation in the Strategic Offensive Weapons Treaty,” Putin said, referring to the new START treaty, which limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads the US and Russia can deploy.
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He did not announce a full withdrawal from the treaty, which was renewed in 2021 for five years. During his speech, Putin urged the state nuclear energy agency, Rosatom, to be ready to resume testing nuclear weapons.
Amid all this tension, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Putin the next day, apparently as a precursor to a state visit. “We look forward to a visit by the President of the People’s Republic of China to Russia, we agree with that,” Putin told Wang. “Everything is progressing, developing. We are reaching new frontiers,” Putin said.
China’s decision to reach out to Russia in its time of need could fundamentally realign geopolitical relations.
Until now, analysts have spoken of a proxy war between Russia and the US, as they supply Ukraine with much of the weaponry that keeps it afloat. Should China enter this asymmetrical map, where half of the developed world supplies Ukraine with weapons while Russia fends for itself, the picture changes with two superpowers sponsoring their champions in the ring. A scenario that would make the dispute for hegemony between West and East even more evident.
With information from international agencies.