Beijing [China] & Washington [US]: The US on Wednesday (local time) threatened China with sanctions if it supports Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman at a hearing on “Restoring American Leadership in the Indo-Pacific”, told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that sanctions imposed on Russia over its war in Ukraine should give China a “good understanding” of the consequences it could face if it provides material support to Moscow and that Beijing eyeing Taiwan should “take away the right lessons” from the sanctions imposed on Russia.
Introducing the proceedings, Congressman Gregory Meeks, the Chairman lambasted China for using military aggression in the Indo-Pacific region and for failing to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He said, “Russia’s pre-meditated and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine demonstrates its disdain for the rules-based international order, and China has woefully abdicated its self-proclaimed role as a responsible stakeholder by failing to condemn Russia’s illegal war and in the Indo-pacific, China routinely coarse our friends and allies, uses military aggression to gain upper hand in broader maritime and territorial disputes. It steals technology and bends the rules to protect its domestic industries. It commits human rights abuses on a grand scale through genocide in Xinjiang, destruction of Hong Kong’s autonomy or its surveillance and repression of citizens throughout the mainland.”
He urged US partners and allies to counter Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) aggression and preserve a free, open Indo-Pacific.
Deputy Secretary of State Sherman further said that the US is deeply concerned about the growing strategic alignment between Russia and PRC as represented in their February 4 statement.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian leader Vladimir Putin before the Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony issued a joint statement that voiced Russia’s support for China’s stance that democratically-governed Taiwan is an inalienable part of China and opposition to any form of independence for the island.
“We have expressed those concerns directly to PRC as have our allies and partners. A strong and coordinated response from the international community, including nations in the Indo-Pacific to Russia’s flagrant violation of international law and principles like sovereignty and territorial integrity, sends a strong signal that such actions will not go ignored,” said Sherman.
Answering Meeks’s question regarding the Biden administration’s assessment on whether China actively supported Russia and its invasion of Ukraine and US earlier warned President Xi of the consequences if China is found to be materially supporting Russia’s war effort, Sherman said that the sanctions imposed on Russia imply that what sort of action will come for Xi if help extended to Russia.
“President Biden has been very direct with President Xi. One only has to look at the range of sanctions to be announced today against Putin, against the Russian economy, against individuals who are enablers, against elites, oligarchs, export controls, designations, sanctions, that are not only from the US. But, in unprecedented fashion coordination with our allies and partners, not just in Europe but throughout the world gives President Xi, I think a pretty good understanding of what might come his way should he in fact support Putin in any material fashion. This is a very serious matter,” said Sherman.
She also said that the US was quite concerned over the joint manifesto of Russia and China that was signed before the Beijing Olympics.
“It increased the concern about what this partnership was about. PRC had said publicly that this is a partnership and not an alliance as part of Xi Jinping trying to distance himself some way from what President Putin had done with his premediated, unjust and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” said Sherman.
The hearing chaired by Meeks was attended by the full committee parity in person and virtually. (ANI)