The United States on Wednesday (29 May) accused China’s leadership of supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine and warned that Beijing could face further sanctions in response from the United States and other NATO countries.

Speaking to reporters on a visit to Brussels, US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said there was an urgent need for European and NATO countries “to send a collective message of concern to China about its actions, which we view are destabilizing in the heart of Europe.”

The Biden administration has stepped up warnings about China’s support for Russia and issued an executive order in December that threatened sanctions on financial institutions helping Russia skirt Western sanctions.

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Campbell said he had briefed NATO’s main political decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council (NAC), about US concerns on Tuesday.

He said Chinese support was helping Moscow reconstitute elements of its military, including long-range missile, artillery and drone capabilities, and its ability to track battlefield movements.

“What we’ve seen from China to Russia is not a one-off or a couple of rogue firms involved in supporting Russia,” Campbell said. “This is a sustained, comprehensive effort that is backed up by the leadership in China that is designed to give Russia every support behind the scenes.”

Chinese Military Delegation Negotiates Logistics Cooperation with Belarus
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Chinese Military Delegation Negotiates Logistics Cooperation with Belarus

The visit coincided with the ongoing “anti-terrorist” exercise involving Chinese and Belarusian troops on the Polish border, with the discussions on “logistics support” a cause of some concern.

Campbell said the Chinese actions had created capacities for Russia not only on the battlefield in Ukraine, but to be “able to pose a strategic challenge to others in Europe.

“We see this as a matter of utmost urgency,” he said.

Campbell noted that in response to China’s actions Europe and the United States had already imposed “sanctions in certain cases” and added: “I would expect that the United States and countries in NATO will take subsequent steps.”

Last month the US imposed sanctions on 20 companies based in China and Hong Kong, following repeated warnings from Washington about China’s support for Russia’s military.

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After those steps China’s embassy in Washington said Beijing oversees the export of dual-use articles in accordance with laws and regulations and that normal trade and economic interactions between China and Russia were in line with World Trade Organization rules and market principles.

Campbell declined to detail what the subsequent steps might be, but said: “I think the view is that we will need to send a clear, unambiguous signal to Beijing that such steps that China is undertaking are dangerous to the long-term stability in Europe.”

On Tuesday, White House Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics Daleep Singh said the US and its partners were prepared to use sanctions and export controls to prevent China-Russia trade that threatens their security amid the Ukraine war.

In a speech in Berlin on Friday, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo is expected to call for further action to stem Russia’s sanctions evasion and deliver a warning on China’s role, highlighting the December executive order.

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In April, a US official told Reuters that Washington had preliminarily discussed sanctions on some Chinese banks but did not yet have a plan to implement such measures.

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