China Says U.S. Is ‘Not Qualified’ to Issue Orders on Arms
Mr. Blinken said, “I made clear, as President Biden has — almost from day one with President Xi — that that would have serious consequences in our own relationship.”
Mr. Blinken said the aid would consist of weapons and ammunition, but he did not offer specifics, nor did he describe the intelligence that the Biden administration presumably acquired to arrive at this conclusion.
Without more details to go by, it is difficult to judge what “lethal support” the Biden administration believes Beijing might consider providing, several experts said.
One possible concern to Washington may be Chinese-made drones, said Mr. Korolev, the expert on Russia’s relations with China. Beijing’s deepening military ties with Russia, including regular joint exercises and Chinese copies of Russian weaponry meant Chinese suppliers could be familiar with other military technology.
But, Mr. Korolev said, China may see little benefit from wading into the fighting when neither Ukraine nor Russia appears likely to collapse, or emerge as victor, anytime soon.
“China can keep sitting on the fence,” he said. “Even if China decides to support Russia, everything will be done to hide that.”
Drew Thompson, formerly responsible for relations with China under the U.S. Secretary of Defense, said that U.S. officials may have caught wind of Chinese military officials or arms makers discussing possible exports to Russia, and Chinese diplomats may not be aware of those discussions. He noted he was no longer privy to U.S. government internal discussions.
“There does not appear to be a functioning policy coordination process in China,” said Mr. Thompson, now a visiting senior research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.
Amy Chang Chien contributed reporting.