US Watching 'Very Closely' for Chinese Support to Russia Amid Ukraine Op, State Department Says

© Sputnik / Виталий Аньков / Go to the mediabankCeremony celebrating the opening of a new border crossing between China and Russia. File photo.
Ceremony celebrating the opening of a new border crossing between China and Russia. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2022
Earlier, Chinese and Russian officials each dismissed claims made by anonymous US officials to Western media that the People's Republic was prepared to assist Moscow with weaponry and economic aid amid Russia's ongoing military operation in Ukraine.
Washington is watching 'very closely' to what extent if any China is providing support to Russia during its operation in Ukraine, State Department spokesman Ned Price has said.

"We are watching very closely the extent to which the PRC or any other country for that matter provides any form of support, whether that's material support, whether that's economic support, whether that's financial support to Russia. Any such support from anywhere in the world would be of great concern to us. It would be of course of the greatest concern if a country like the PRC were to be doing that," Price said, speaking at a briefing in Washington on Monday.

Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday to discuss 'a range of issues' in bilateral relations, with talks reportedly including "substantial discussion of Russia's war against Ukraine," according to the White House.
Sullivan, Price said, "raised directly and very clearly our concerns about the PRC's support to Russia" during the meeting, as well as "the implications that any such support would have for the PRC's relationship not only with us but for its relationships around the world."
National Security adviser Jake Sullivan accompanies U.S. President Joe Biden as he visits the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in nearby McLean, Virginia outside Washington, U.S., July 27, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.03.2022
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The State Department spokesman also suggested that China has special "leverage" with Russia and said Beijing "could do more" to stop the Russian military operation in Ukraine. "We have communicated very clearly to Beijing that we won't stand by. We will not allow any country to compensate Russia for its losses," he warned.

"It is incumbent upon every country around the world to speak out clearly, to allow there to be no ambiguity in terms of where they stand. We've heard statements from the PRC that have somewhat of an ambivalent message - calling for a diplomatic solution. I read a statement the other day from a PRC official calling the situation complicated. There's nothing complicated about this," Price suggested.

The spokesman further indicated that the US has "coordinated very closely" with its allies and partners on a possible retaliation against China, if it was demonstrated that Beijing has provided Russia with any tangible economic or military assistance. "We're not going to preview where this might go. Obviously we don't want to entertain a hypothetical like that at this point," he said.
"We have been very clear both privately with Beijing, publicly with Beijing that there would be consequences for such support," Price said.
In this April 14, 2016 file photo, a Chinese national flag flutters against the office buildings in Shanghai, China.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2022
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Price went on to accuse Russia and China of sharing a "vision of the world that is in stark contrast to the vision that the United States and our allies and partners have not only built and promoted and defended, but that the system itself has advantaged countries like the PRC and Russia."
Moscow and Beijing have each dismissed reporting by Western outlets and news agencies citing anonymous officials about the alleged delivery of Chinese weapons and/or economic support to Russia, or offers of such support being made.
"The US has been spreading disinformation targeting China on the Ukraine issue, with malicious intentions," Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a statement Monday when asked to comment on the reports. Zhao's statement were preceded by comments by a spokesman at the Chinese Embassy in Washington who rejected claims that Moscow had approached Beijing for help. "The current situation in Ukraine is indeed disconcerting. The high priority now is to prevent the tense situation from escalating or even getting out of control," Embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry's building in Beijing - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2022
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Russia also dismissed the claims, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov telling reporters Monday that Moscow has not requested military aid from the PRC or any other country. "Newspapers write a lot nowadays, and shouldn't be used as a primary source. Russia has the capability to independently continue the operation, as we have said, it is developing according to plan and will be completed on time and in full," Peskov said.
Russia began a large-scale military operation in Ukraine on 24 February aimed at demilitarizing the country and ridding Kiev of the outsized influence of neo-nazi forces in the security forces, the military and politics. The operation was started after weeks of escalating shelling, sabotage and sniper attacks by Ukrainian forces against the Donbass republics, which Moscow recognized as sovereign nations on 21 February.
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