NATIONAL NEWS

US, China aides to meet as tensions mount over Russia

Mar 13, 2022, 3:57 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:38 pm
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily White House press briefing on Febru...
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily White House press briefing on February 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. Sullivan spoke to reporters about the call U.S. President Joe Biden held with transatlantic leaders to discuss the ongoing tensions at the border of Russia and Ukraine. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. and China are sending top aides to meet in Rome on Monday amid mounting tensions between the two countries over the Russia-Ukraine war and as a U.S. official reports that Russia in recent days has asked China for military equipment to help press its campaign.

In advance of the talks, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan bluntly warned China to avoid helping Russia evade punishment from global sanctions that have hammered the Russian economy. “We will not allow that to go forward,” he said.

U.S. officials are also accusing China of spreading Russian disinformation that could be a pretext for chemical or biological weapons attacks launched by Vladimir Putin’s forces in Ukraine.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put China in a delicate spot with two of its biggest trading partners: the U.S. and European Union. China needs access to those markets, yet it also has made gestures supportive of Moscow, joining with Russia in declaring a friendship with “no limits.”

In his talks with senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi, Sullivan will indeed be looking for limits in what Beijing will do for Moscow.

“I’m not going to sit here publicly and brandish threats,” he told CNN in a round of Sunday news show interviews. “But what I will tell you is we are communicating directly and privately to Beijing that there absolutely will be consequences” if China helps Russia “backfill” its losses from the sanctions.

“We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country anywhere in the world,” he said.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, said that in recent days, Russia had requested support from China, including military equipment, to press forward in its ongoing war with Ukraine. The official did not provide details on the scope of the request. The request was first reported by The Washington Post.

The White House said the talks will focus on the direct impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on regional and global security.

Biden administration officials say Beijing is spreading false Russian claims that Ukraine was running chemical and biological weapons labs with U.S. support. They say China is effectively providing cover if Russia moves ahead with a biological or chemical weapons attack on Ukrainians.

When Russia starts accusing other countries of preparing to launch biological or chemical attacks, Sullivan told NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “it’s a good tell that they may be on the cusp of doing it themselves.”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, on ABC’s “This Week,” said “we haven’t seen anything that indicates some sort of imminent chemical or biological attack right now, but we’re watching this very, very closely.”

The striking U.S. accusations about Russian disinformation and Chinese complicity came after Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova alleged with no evidence that the U.S. was financing Ukrainian chemical and biological weapons labs.

The Russian claim was echoed by Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who claimed there were 26 bio-labs and related facilities in “which the U.S. Department of Defense has absolute control.” The United Nations has said it has received no information backing up such accusations.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the claims “preposterous.”

“Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them,” Psaki tweeted last week. “It’s a clear pattern.”

Sullivan told “Face the Nation” on CBS that the Russian rhetoric on chemical and biological warfare is “an indicator that, in fact, the Russians are getting ready to do it and try and pin the blame elsewhere and nobody should fall for that.”

The international community for years has assessed that Russia has used chemical weapons in carrying out assassination attempts against Putin detractors such as Alexei Navalny and former spy Sergei Skripal. Russia also supports the Assad government in Syria, which has used chemical weapons against its people in a decade-long civil war.

Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, CIA Director William Burns also noted grave concern that Russia might be laying the groundwork for a chemical or biological attack of its own, which it would then blame on the U.S. or Ukraine in a false flag operation.

“This is something, as all of you know very well, is very much a part of Russia’s playbook,” he said. “They’ve used these weapons against their own citizens, they’ve at least encouraged the use in Syria and elsewhere, so it’s something we take very seriously.”

China has been one of few countries to avoid criticizing the Russians for its invasion of Ukraine. China’s Xi Jinping hosted Putin for the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, just weeks before Russia launched the Feb. 24 invasion.

During Putin’s visit to China last month, the two leaders issued a 5,000-word statement declaring limitless friendship.

The Chinese abstained on U.N. votes censuring Russia and has criticized economic sanctions against Moscow. It has expressed its support for peace talks and offered its services as a mediator, despite questions about its neutrality and scant experience mediating international conflict.

But questions remain over how far Beijing will go to alienate the alliance and put its own economy at risk. Sullivan said China and all countries are on notice that they cannot “basically bail Russia out … give Russia a workaround to the sanctions,” with impunity.

Chinese officials have said Washington shouldn’t be able to complain about Russia’s actions because the U.S. invaded Iraq under false pretenses. The U.S. claimed to have evidence Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction though none was ever found.

On CNN, Sullivan said the administration believes China knew that Putin “was planning something” before the invasion of Ukraine. But he said the Chinese government “may not have understood the full extent of it because it’s very possible that Putin lied to them the same way that he lied to Europeans and others.”

Sullivan and Yang last met for face-to-face talks in Switzerland, where Sullivan raised the Biden administration’s concerns about China’s military provocations against Taiwan, human rights abuses against ethnic minorities and efforts to squelch pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong.

That meeting set the stage for a three-hour long virtual meeting in November between Biden and Xi.

Sullivan is also to meet Luigi Mattiolo, diplomatic adviser to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, while in Rome.

___

Associated Press writer Hope Yen contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 23: Ice cream is for sale in a Ben & Jerry's store on September 23, ...
WILSON RING Associated Press

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream fight in Israel heats up

The Vermont-based ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's is suing its corporate parent Unilever over a plan that would allow its product to be sold in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.
1 day ago
This aerial image taken from video, show damage to the Georgia Guidestones monument near Elberton, ...
JEFF AMY Associated Press

Georgia monument bombed after candidate called it ‘satanic,’ called for demolition

A rural Georgia monument has been bombed, damaging one of four granite panels weeks after GOP candidate claimed they were "satanic" and called for their demolition.
1 day ago
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 30: Bruce Horak and Ethan Peck attend the Paramount+'s "Star Trek: Stran...
Associated Press

Star Trek’s ‘Strange New Worlds’: In defense of episodic TV

Two generations after its 1966 debut, the universe of “Star Trek” has become a vast and sprawling mural in these heady days of streaming TV.
1 day ago
FILE...
Vince Rodriguez, KOAT

Woman arrested after stealing car with 2 children inside

One woman has been arrested after police say she stole a car with children inside on July 4, in New Mexico.
1 day ago
CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 27: The TikTok logo is displayed outside a TikTok office on August...
Cary Schwanitz

TikTok sued following young girls’ deaths after taking ‘blackout challenge’

Two families filed lawsuits against the social media giant TikTok last week alleging its algorithms were responsible for the deaths of two young daughters who took part in the “blackout challenge” according to a Los Angeles Times report.
1 day ago
FILE: NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 29: A sparse crowd watches a fireworks show at Coney Island as part...
Amir Vera and Rob Frehse, CNN

A tip from a ‘hero citizen’ thwarted a mass shooting planned for July 4 police say

One phone call saved countless lives and prevented a potential mass shooting during July 4 celebrations in Richmond, Virginia.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah Voters 50+ Support Increased Access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
US, China aides to meet as tensions mount over Russia