Joe Biden says he doesn’t think China will send guns to Russia

Joe Biden said he doesn’t think China would send arms to Russia to support its military campaign in Ukraine, in comments that seemed to contradict claims by his top officials that Beijing was considering the idea.

In an interview with ABC Television on Friday, which aired on the eve of the anniversary of Ukraine’s all-out invasion, the US president hinted that he was less concerned about claims — coming from Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other senior officials – that China is considering strengthening Russia’s military with weapons.

“I don’t expect a major Chinese initiative to arms Russia,” Biden said in an interview at the White House.

While Biden said he doesn’t expect China to send weapons, he warned that if Beijing did, he would “react.” But the president’s concerns appeared to be less than those of top figures in his administration, who have hinted over the past week that China is seriously considering sending arms to Russia.

Last weekend, after meeting Wang Yi, China’s top foreign policy leader, on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, Blinken told NBC television he was very concerned about possible Chinese support.

“Some more information that we are sharing today that I think will be released soon. . . shows they are seriously considering providing lethal aid to Russia,” Blinken told the TV channel.

Blinken said he told Wang there would be “serious consequences” if China sent weapons.

Blinken’s warning came 11 months after the US last claimed China was considering supplying arms to Russia after President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin signed a partnership without borders weeks before invading Ukraine.

In the months that followed, government officials said China prepared to send weapons but changed course after US warnings.

In a separate interview with CBS News over the weekend, Blinken said China had provided “non-lethal” support to Russia for the operation in Ukraine and was now considering providing “lethal support.”

Although Blinken claims the information “would be out soon,” the White House has not provided any public evidence to back the claims.

When asked Friday why the US had not released evidence after officials stressed the issue, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby did not elaborate.

“I just don’t have any intelligence to talk to today,” Kirby replied, before adding, “I won’t elaborate further.”

The Biden administration on Friday blacklisted five Chinese groups for their alleged role in supporting the Russian military on the “Entity List” — which effectively blocks companies from supplying the groups with American technology. The action was part of a large package aimed at nearly 300 individuals and groups.

In a coordinated move with the G7, the US warned that any country helping Russia evade sanctions would face “serious costs”.

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