The U.S. government is contacting its close allies to discuss the possibility of implementing new sanctions against China if it provides military support to Russia in the ongoing war in Ukraine. These preliminary consultations aim to gather support from various countries, particularly those in the wealthy Group of 7 (G7), for possible sanctions.
Consultations for Potential Sanctions
The U.S. Treasury Department, responsible for implementing sanctions, declined to comment. However, the U.S. and its allies have recently warned China against providing military support to Russia. The Biden administration has taken initial steps to address the issue, including informal outreach at the staff and diplomatic levels and the Treasury Department.
Sources familiar with the matter reported that officials are laying the groundwork for potential action against Beijing, particularly with countries that supported sanctions imposed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine a year ago.
China's Role in the Russia-Ukraine War
Intelligence regarding China's possible military assistance to Russia is limited. One official from a country consulted by the U.S. stated they had only seen scant evidence to support these claims. However, the U.S. is said to provide detailed intelligence accounts to its allies.
The issue of China's role in the Russia-Ukraine war is expected to be discussed during Biden's meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House on Friday, and by foreign ministers from various countries, including Russia, China, and the U.S., in New Delhi on Wednesday and Thursday.
The initial outreach by the U.S. on sanctions has yet to lead to an agreement on specific measures, according to sources. The U.S. administration is said first to want to raise the idea of coordinated sanctions and gauge support if any shipments are detected from China to Russia.
Challenges in Implementing Sanctions on China
The U.S. faces several challenges in implementing sanctions on China, the world's second-largest economy and thoroughly integrated into the major economies of Europe and Asia. U.S. allies from Germany to South Korea are reluctant to alienate China, complicating the talks.
Experts, such as former President Donald Trump's sanctions expert Anthony Ruggiero, suggest that the Biden administration has scope for economically restricting private actors within China, which could deter the government and banks from providing further support. Ruggiero also recommends that the U.S. should make China choose between access to the U.S. financial system or aiding Russia's war, similar to the sanctions approach towards Iran and North Korea.