The United States has made it clear to the Chinese authorities that it is a “bad choice” to support a Russian special operation to protect the civilian population of Donbass, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said on March 18 in an interview with CNN.
In this way, he commented on the conversation that took place earlier, on Friday, between American leader Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, in which the former warned of “consequences for Beijing.”
“I don’t want to speculate or go into hypothetical reasoning. I hope China will not support [special operation], I hope they recognize the need to respect sovereign territory,” Austin said.
He stated that the United States had made it clear to China that supporting Russia “would be a bad choice.”
On March 18, Biden, in a telephone conversation with Xi Jinping, spoke about the consequences of possible material assistance from China in relation to Russia. At the same time, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the US President that he considers “collisions and confrontation” not beneficial to “any person.” According to him, interstate relations “should not develop into a situation where the parties begin to use weapons against each other.”
On March 17, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden expected to receive clarification from Xi Jinping about Beijing’s position on Russia’s special operation. In addition, she noted that any assistance from China to Russia is of great concern to the United States.
At the same time, the official representative of the Ministry of Commerce of China, Gao Feng, said that China opposed US sanctions against Russia. He noted that China is against unilateral sanctions that do not take into account international law, which destabilize the global market. He also stressed that the PRC will definitely take the necessary measures and protect the legal rights, as well as the interests of its companies engaged in ordinary trading activities.
Earlier, on March 13, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that the US authorities informed China that if China tries to help Russia compensate for losses from Western sanctions, it will face “certain consequences.”
On February 28, it was reported that China refused to support new sanctions against the Russian Federation. As clarified in China, the country opposes unilateral sanctions that have no basis in international law.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of an operation to protect civilians in the Donbass. As his press secretary Dmitry Peskov clarified then, the special operation has two goals – the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.
According to him, both of these aspects pose a threat to the Russian state and people. The Russian side also emphasized that it does not hatch plans for the occupation of Ukrainian territory, and strikes are carried out only on the military infrastructure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.