How the US may React if China Supports Russia with Lethal Aid

How the US may React if China Supports Russia with Lethal Aid
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing with General Secretary of the Communist Party and President of China Xi Jinping, Feb 4, 2022. [Presidential Executive Office of Russia]

The U.S. could impose economic sanctions against China if it supports Russia’s war in Ukraine with “lethal aid”, as multiple warnings have been already issued by Washington, the Hill reports.

The Pentagon, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield all warned of consequences if China supplies Russia with weapons and munitions.

U.S. officials have not provided more details about what the action could be. But experts told the Hill, considering China’s role in the global economy and intensified competition, the U.S. is most likely to start with sanctions.

“I’m hopeful but in a very clear-eyed way that China will get that message, because it’s not only coming from us, it’s coming from many other countries who do not want to see China aiding and abetting in a material way Russia’s war effort in Ukraine,” Blinken said in an interview with the Atlantic on Thursday, Feb. 23.

If China were to provide lethal assistance to Russia, the United States could initially impose sanctions on certain Chinese military-industrial complex companies, with the potential to expand the list if the support continues, the Hill writes.

On Friday, Biden’s administration added Chinese satellite companies, Spacety Co Ltd, and China HEAD Aerospace Technology Co to a trade blacklist for allegedly supporting the Russian military.

The U.S. has already sanctioned Spacety China earlier in January, for allegedly providing satellite imagery to Moscow, supporting Russia's war in Ukraine.

Additional measures could involve secondary penalties on China, which would target other countries and entities that conduct business with Beijing.

As for more drastic measures, the U.S. could implement export controls similar to restrictions on semiconductor chip exports. If such controls were extended to more products that China needs to import, such as aviation components, it could severely harm China's economy.