U.S. President Joe Biden's surprise visit to Kyiv on Feb. 20 is set to be followed by top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi's visit to Moscow, reports Reuters. Both visits occur in the days preceding the anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.
During Biden's meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky, he announced a $500 million aid package for Ukraine and more sanctions against those supporting Russia's war in Ukraine.
According to multiple reports, officials in Washington D.C. are concerned that China might consider supplying Moscow with "lethal support," such as weaponry.
"We've been watching this very closely," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS at the Munich Security Conference. According to Blinken, the U.S. has already seen Chinese companies providing non-lethal support to Russia.
In an interview with CNN, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, "that would be a red line" if China provided lethal aid to Russia.
"We welcome the Chinese announcement that they want peace because that’s what we always want to pursue in situations like this," she said. "But we also have to be clear that if there are any thoughts and efforts by the Chinese and others to provide lethal support to the Russians in their brutal attack against Ukraine, that is unacceptable."
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Feb. 20 that they will "stay firm on the side of dialogue & peace and work constructively for de-escalation."
However, the Chinese government has avoided criticizing Russia outright for the full-scale invasion, going as far as to declare, "It is the U.S., not China, that has been pouring weapons into the battlefield in Ukraine. The U.S. is in no position to tell China what to do. China will never accept US finger-pointing or coercion on China-Russia relations."