U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, of the consequences if China supports Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The two met on the sidelines of a global security conference in Munich, where Blinken expressed his concerns over China's consideration of supplying weapons to Russia.
Serious Consequences in U.S.-China Relationship
In an interview with NBC News, Blinken said the U.S. is very concerned about China's potential provision of lethal support to Russia, including weapons, and made it clear to Wang that this would have serious consequences in their relationship.
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Sunday in which Wang told Blinken that the U.S. must "face up to and resolve the damage" to bilateral relations caused by the recent shootdown of what the U.S. called a spy balloon.
China's Response to Ukraine War
The West has been wary of China's response to the Ukraine war and its ties with Russia, as a Russian victory could impact China's actions toward Taiwan. Wang called for dialogue and suggested European countries "think calmly" about ending the war, but did not specify to whom he was referring.
Dispute Over Spy Balloon Clouds U.S.-China Relations
Relations between the U.S. and China have been fraught since the U.S. said China flew a spy balloon over the continental U.S. and shot it down on President Biden's orders. Wang took a swipe at the U.S. for violating international norms with "hysterical" behavior and did not apologize for the balloon's flight.
Blinken told Wang that the balloon's violation of U.S. air space was unacceptable and could not happen again. The lack of a strong response from Washington has increased China's appetite for risk in future disputes, according to a China expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.