President Biden promises action if China threatens sovereignty

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Russia and China showcased their deepening ties on Wednesday in meetings watched by the world for signs Beijing might offer the Kremlin stronger support for its war in Ukraine. The visit by Wang Yi, the Chinese Communist Party’s most senior foreign policy official, to Moscow comes as the conflict in Ukraine continues to upend the global diplomatic order.

Relations between Russia and the West are at their lowest point since the Cold War, and ties between China and the US are also under serious strain. Moscow suspended its participation in the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty with Washington this week.

And the US expressed concern that China could provide arms and ammunition to Russia.

Writing for the Daily Mail, author Ian Williams warned such a move could see the whole geopolitical world status change.

He said: “The consequences are almost beyond imagination. Everything about Vladimir Putin’s insane invasion of Ukraine has been unthinkable — but if China weighs in with open support for the Russian dictator’s beleaguered army, then our whole way of life could be threatened.”

He added: “If the day comes when China starts openly providing weapons, it will redefine global politics in a way we haven’t seen since the Cold War.

Russia and China showcased their deepening ties on Wednesday in meetings others are watching for signs that Beijing might offer the Kremlin stronger support for its war in Ukraine.

“Even the darkest days of the simmering conflict between the USSR and Nato cannot compare to the cataclysm threatening to engulf us if China gives arms to Russia.”

Speaking at the start of talks with Wang, Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed ties between the two countries and added that the Kremlin expects Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit Russia.

The Russian leader, whose own rule over Russia is imperilled by the war, noted escalating international tensions, adding that “in this context, cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation on the global arena is particularly important for stabilising the international situation.”

While Wang said: “Chinese-Russian relations aren’t directed against any third countries and certainly can’t be subject to pressure from any third countries,” the spectre of the war and how it has galvanised the West and deepened its divide with Russia hung over his meeting with Putin.

For instance, Wang emphasised that Moscow and Beijing both support “multipolarity and democratisation of international relations” – a reference to their shared goal of countering the perceived US dominance in global affairs.

China has pointedly refused to criticise the invasion of Ukraine while echoing Moscow’s claim that the US and NATO were to blame for provoking the Kremlin. The government in Beijing also has blasted the sanctions imposed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine.

Russia, in turn, has staunchly supported China amid tensions with the US over Taiwan.

The two nations have held military drills showcasing their defence ties. China, Russia and South Africa are holding naval drills in the Indian Ocean this week.

Warning over China’s nuclear abilities, Mr Williams added: “Meanwhile, China has quietly been growing its own nuclear strike force. By 2035 it is expected to have 1,500 warheads ready to fire — every one of them carrying a destructive power that dwarfs the bombs dropped in 1945 on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“We last faced a nuclear stand-off during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and that lasted only a few days. Should Xi and Putin combine forces, the threat to the world would be unimaginably worse.

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“To us in the democratic West, it seems deranged that any world leader could ever think of using this firepower for anything but a last-ditch defence. And, mercifully, I know many Chinese statesmen are wary of Putin’s nuclear rhetoric.

“But Xi and Putin are tyrants, who are not bound by the same constraints as our leaders. That makes it much harder for our intelligence agencies to predict what might happen.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said any Chinese involvement in the Kremlin’s war effort would be a “serious problem.”

Asked Wednesday whether NATO has any indication that China might provide arms or other support to Russia’s war, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Warsaw, Poland: “We have seen some signs that they may be planning for that and of course NATO allies, the United States, have been warning against it because this is something that should not happen. China should not support Russia’s illegal war.”

Stoltenberg said potential Chinese assistance would amount to providing “(direct) support to a blatant violation of international law, and of course (as) a member of the UN security council China should not in any way support violation of the UN charter, or international law.”

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