WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed confidence when asked if the U.S. would be able to successfully deter China from increasing their involvement in the Russian-Ukraine conflict.
“I certainly hope so and ultimately believe so,” Bliken said in response to the question from Atlantic editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg. “But the proof will be in the pudding.”
Speaking at an Atlantic Live event commemorating the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine on Thursday, Blinken went on to explain that Biden and other U.S. officials have made it clear to Chinese president Xi Jinping that any aid to Russian forces or the systematic evasion of sanctions would be a “serious problem” for future relations.
So far, China has provided no lethal military support to Russia. However, Blinken said the U.S. has recently gathered information that suggests China is considering going against Biden’s approach.
Blinken said he’s still hopeful China will get their message.
“It’s not only coming from us, it’s coming from many other countries who do not want to see China aiding and abetting, in a material way, Russia’s war effort in Ukraine,” he said.
This comes after NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg expressed similar concern about China providing lethal support to Russia on Tuesday. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin accused NATO of treating the conflict with a “Cold War mentality” on Wednesday, calling their allegations about China’s support of Russian troops “groundless speculation and smears.”
While he refrained from expressing certainty, Blinken said it is in China’s best interest to not alienate the U.S. and their allies as they attempt to regain their footing in the international community.
“The jury’s out,” Blinken said. “We’re watching it very, very carefully. We’ll see how they react.”