Sullivan raises Russia concerns in meeting with Chinese official

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White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised concerns about China’s alignment with Russia during a lengthy meeting between U.S. and Chinese officials on Monday, a senior Biden administration official said.

U.S. and Chinese officials met for seven hours in Rome, the official said, a discussion that addressed in part Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sullivan warned China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, that China could face consequences for supporting Russia, the official said.

The meeting, described by Biden administration officials as intense and candid, followed reports that Russia has sought military and economic support from China amid the Ukraine invasion. The senior administration official declined to directly address those reports.   

“We do have deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia at this time, and the national security adviser was direct about those concerns and the potential implications and consequences of certain actions,” the official told reporters during a briefing following the meeting.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sullivan communicated that China would face “significant consequences” if the country provides Russia with military or other support that “violates sanctions or supports the war effort.” But she declined to offer specific information about those consequences, saying they would be coordinated with U.S. allies. 

The senior administration official said Monday that the date for the meeting between Sullivan and Yang had been planned before Russia invaded Ukraine almost three weeks ago. It nevertheless came at a timely and pressing moment, with the U.S. trying to keep international pressure on Russia for attacking Ukraine. 

A White House readout of the call said that the engagement touched on a “range of issues” and that there was “substantial discussion” about the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. 

The readout said Sullivan and Yang “underscored the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between the United States and China.” 

Biden administration officials said they would be watching China’s actions closely as they pertain to Russia and its invasion of Ukraine.  

The meeting was planned to follow up on President Biden’s November call with Chinese President Xi Jinping and also touched on North Korea and China’s provocative behavior near Taiwan.   

Tags Jake Sullivan Jen Psaki Joe Biden Russia-China relations Russian invasion of Ukraine US-China relations
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