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The United States confronts China over its state-owned companies’ links to Russia’s war efforts

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Xi Jinping during a meeting before the war, when they declared a
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Xi Jinping during a meeting before the war, when they declared a “limitless” relationship between the two countries (Sputnik/Aleksey Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS)

The Biden government has confronted the government of China with evidence suggesting that some Chinese state-owned enterprises they can be providing help for him Russian war effort in Ukraine, while trying to find out if Beijing is aware of such activities, according to people familiar with the matter.

The people, who asked not to be named when discussing private deliberations, declined to detail the endorsement except to say it consists of military assistance Y non-lethal economic that it refrains from evading the sanctions regime that the US and its allies imposed after Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

The trend is troubling enough that US officials have raised the issue with their Chinese counterparts and told them warned about the implications of providing material support for the warthe people said, though they declined to give details of those contacts.

President Xi Jinping has avoided criticizing Russia for the war, but has also offered to play a role in the peace talks and has been opposed to the use of nuclear weapons in the conflict.

A spokeswoman for National Security Council declined to comment, as did the Central Intelligence Agency. The Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to two emails seeking comment. Although the information is unclear and remains under debate, US officials said they agree that the relationship between Russia Y China is now extremely narrow and that China is doing more than it did before in support of Russia.

In China there are thousands of state-owned companies.  All of them are subject to the influence of the Communist Party, although the details of their operations are not always closely controlled.  (REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/file)
In China there are thousands of state-owned companies. All of them are subject to the influence of the Communist Party, although the details of their operations are not always closely controlled. (REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/file)

People familiar with the administration’s thinking characterized the activities of state-owned enterprises as a knowingly helping Russia in his war effort. They did not elaborate on what evidence the administration might have to support that view.

The administration is reviewing the evidence it has accumulated to determine its significance. The conclusion that Chinese companies supported the invasion would have troubling implications for US policy toward Russia Y China.

The US strategy on Ukraine is based in part on isolating the government of the president Vladimir Putin and try to suffocate your economy Y hinder the war effort. Further support from China, the world’s second-largest economy, could significantly undermine that strategy.

And if Biden and his advisers determine that the Chinese government is implicated in or tacitly accepts the actions of these state-owned companies, they would be forced to decide. to what extent to counterattack. That could open up a new field of contention at a time when the United States has tried to balance its desire to stabilize ties with Beijing with measures to limit Chinese access to mircochips high-end and take on China for what it sees as a more aggressive stance towards taiwan.

Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellenmet with the deputy prime minister Liu He last week and the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinkenis scheduled to visit Beijing in February, the first such visit since the Covid-19 outbreak halted travel in early 2020.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Zurich, Switzerland, on Jan. 18, 2023. (Michael Buholzer/Keystone via AP)
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Zurich, Switzerland, on Jan. 18, 2023. (Michael Buholzer/Keystone via AP)

Russia and China declared a relationship “without limits” before the war and US officials believe that China initially intended to sell lethal weapons to Russia for use on the battlefield. But the administration believes that China has scaled back on that plan and argues that it is not doing everything it could to help Putin’s invasion, the people said.

The administration believes that the Chinese government wants help Russia and is not neutral as it claims, according to people. China has also intensified its trade relationship despite US demands that other nations distance themselves from the Russian economy.

China rejects as a matter of principle any sanction other than those agreed upon in the United Nations, and considers a violation of sovereignty US calls on other countries to restrict trade. In 2022, the Chinese imports from Russia grew by almost 50% compared to the previous year, while exports increased by 13%.

In China there are thousands of state companies, some controlled directly by the central government with chief executives having the same rank as ministers and others subject to less direct supervision. All of them are subject to influence of the Communist Partyalthough the details of their operations are not always closely controlled.

At the end of December, Xi and Putin had a phone call in which they agreed to cooperate on trade, energy, finance and agriculture (Sputnik/Mikhail Kuravlev/Kremlin via REUTERS)
At the end of December, Xi and Putin had a phone call in which they agreed to cooperate on trade, energy, finance and agriculture (Sputnik/Mikhail Kuravlev/Kremlin via REUTERS)

The trend would only exacerbate what US officials have said publicly is a problem. After meeting with a senior Chinese official in July, Blinken said he had conveyed his concerns about the China’s “alignment with Russia.”

“Now what you hear from Beijing is that it claims to be neutral,” Blinken said then. “I would start with the proposition that it is quite difficult to be neutral when it comes to this aggression. There is a clear attacker. There is a clear victim.”

At the end of December, Xi and Putin had a phone call in which they agreed to cooperate on trade, energy, finance and agriculture, according to Chinese state television. Xi told Putin that Beijing would continue to play a constructive role in resolving the Ukrainian “crisis”, although the road to peace talks will not be easy, according to television.

However, the intensification of support for Moscow would go against recent indications that China is trying to improve its ties with the United States after months of rising tensions. After meeting in Bali last year, President Joe Biden and Xi said that “nuclear war should never be fought” and that they oppose “the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” according to the White House statement.

(With information from Bloomberg)

Keep reading:

“Russia complex”: Xi Jinping’s admiration for Vladimir Putin that explains Chinese support despite everything
Isolated from the West by the invasion of Ukraine, Putin bets everything on Xi Jinping: “We are waiting for you, dear president, dear friend…”

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