Washington: In a move to check China from providing military assistance to Moscow, the United States is sounding out close allies about the possibility of imposing new sanctions on China if Beijing makes such a move in support of Russia for its war in Ukraine, according to four US officials and other sources, media reports said.
The consultations, which are still at a preliminary stage, are intended to drum up support from a range of countries, especially those in the wealthy Group of 7 (G7), to coordinate support for any possible restrictions.
It was not clear what specific sanctions Washington will propose. The conversations have not been previously disclosed. The US Treasury Department, a lead agency on the imposition of sanctions, declined to comment.
Washington and its allies have said in recent weeks that China was considering providing weapons to Russia, which Beijing denies. Aides to US President Joe Biden have not publicly provided evidence.
They have also warned China directly against doing so, including in meetings between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as during a February 18 in-person meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on the sidelines of a global security conference in Munich.
The Biden administration’s initial steps to counter Chinese support for Russia have included informal outreach at the staff and diplomatic levels, including the Treasury Department, media reports quoted sources.
They said officials were laying the groundwork for potential action against Beijing with the core group of countries that were most supportive of sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine a year ago.
Asked about the consultations, a White House National Security Council spokesperson said Russia’s war made it difficult for China with Europe and others.
“It’s a distraction for China and a potential blow to their international relationships they do not need nor should they want,” the spokesperson said.