The US ambassador to the United Nations said Sunday that China would cross a “red line” if the country decided to provide lethal military aid to Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
“We welcome the Chinese announcement that they want peace because that’s what we always want to pursue in situations like this. But we also have to be clear that if there are any thoughts and efforts by the Chinese and others to provide lethal support to the Russians in their brutal attack against Ukraine, that that is unacceptable,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told CNN’s Pamela Brown on “State of the Union.”
“That would be a red line,” she said.
As CNN previously reported, the US has begun seeing “disturbing” trendlines in China’s support for Russia’s military, and there are signs that Beijing wants to “creep up to the line” of providing lethal military aid to Russia without getting caught, US officials familiar with the intelligence told CNN.
The officials would not describe in detail what intelligence the US has seen suggesting a recent shift in China’s posture but said US officials have been concerned enough that they have shared the intelligence with allies and partners at the Munich Security Conference over the past several days.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the issue when he met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Saturday on the sidelines of the conference, officials said.
“The secretary was quite blunt in warning about the implications and consequences of China providing material support to Russia or assisting Russia with systematic sanctions evasion,” a senior State Department official told reporters.
Thomas-Greenfield also reiterated Sunday that the US is prepared to “compete” with China.
“The president has said we see China as the adversary it is. We are prepared to compete with the Chinese, and we are [prepared], when necessary, to confront the Chinese. And that’s what we’re doing. And that’s what we will continue to do to ensure that our national interests are always at the forefront,” she said.
CNN’s Natasha Bertrand contributed to this report.