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US Treasury Secretary warns China of 'significant consequences' if its companies support Russia’s war

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 6, 2024 3:07 PM 2 min read
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen looks on prior to a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng on April 6, 2024 in Guangzhou, China. (Ken Ishii - Pool/Getty Images)
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U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Beijing of "significant consequences" if Chinese companies provide support for Russia’s war against Ukraine during her meetings with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng.

Beijing has maintained close ties with Moscow during the war, increasing economic cooperation and disrupting Western attempts at isolating Russia.

Expanded trade with China has played a key role in allowing Moscow to keep its economy running and ramp up its military industry despite Western economic pressure.

The U.S. has repeatedly warned China against providing Russia with lethal military aid and urged Beijing to use its influence over Moscow to help end the war.

Yellen met with He in Guangzhou on April 5-6, where the two officials discussed the U.S.-China bilateral economic relationship, Russia’s war against Ukraine, and other issues.

"Secretary Yellen emphasized that companies, including those in the PRC (People's Republic of China), must not provide material support for Russia’s war against Ukraine, including support to the Russian defense industrial base, and the significant consequences if they do so," according to a readout published by the U.S. Treasury on April 6.

Yellen’s warning comes after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told EU and NAO foreign ministers in Brussels that China was helping Russia "at a concerning scale" and giving "tools, inputs, and technical expertise," the Financial Times (FT) reported, citing three people familiar with the discussions.

The aid was reportedly particularly focused on Russia's production of optical equipment and propellants as well as its space industry, which Blinken said "not only contributes to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine but threatens other countries," according to the people.

"The warnings were explicit," one of the FT sources said. "There has been a shift, and it was felt in the room . . . this was a new development. It was very striking."

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