Jake Sullivan, White House National Security Adviser, emphasized there is no evidence that China has been supplying military assistance to Russia in its continuing war on Ukraine.
Sullivan’s remarks are in response to CIA Director William Burns’s public claim that he was assured that the intelligence has indicated that China is considering prospects of supplying lethal aid to Russia. Security Adviser Sullivan stressed that if the nation does, it would be a “mistake” and that the U.S. would continue to “carefully” monitor the situation.
“We actually haven’t seen them take a final decision to provide the aid to Russia, and we haven’t seen the aid be provided to Russia. So, we will watch carefully, we will be vigilant, and we will continue to send a strong message that we believe that sending military aid to Russia,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan maintains that deciding to give military aid to Russia “would be a bad mistake, and China should want no part of it.”
China has repeatedly publicly denied reports that it continues to weigh providing lethal aid, despite the statement by Burns. Sullivan declined to answer when asked how the U.S. would respond should China move to provide support, maintaining the privacy of U.S. and China communication. However, Sullivan stressed the consequences had been communicated clearly.
China is in an “awkward” position due to its relationship with Russia
Security Adviser Sullivan noted that China is in an “awkward” status due to its relationship with Russia and desire to make inroads with countries irritated by the invasion.
“China’s position in this much more awkward. In fact, there was just a vote at the U.N. General Assembly in which China abstained. They did not vote with Russia,” added Sullivan. “They know that going all in with Russia in this war in Ukraine would alienate a substantial number of countries that they are working hard to maintain good relations with.”
Ukraine and Russia marked the one-year anniversary of the invasion on February 24. President Joe Biden visited Poland and Ukraine to mark the anniversary last week. In the meantime, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky repeated his stance that Ukraine will try to retake Crimea, which experts warn could intensify the war.
When queried on Zelensky’s remarks on Crimea, Sullivan demurred and insisted he isn’t “going to get into hypothetical questions.” The president also echoed Biden’s claim that the U.S. has yet to agree to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine despite pleas from Zelensky.
Regarding the recent Wall Street Journal report that the Energy Department has concluded that the Wuhan, China, lab leak theory was the most likely origin explanation for the origin of Covid-19, Sullivan said, “President Biden specifically requested that the national labs, which are part of the Department of Energy, be brought into this assessment.”
“And if we gain any further insight or information, we will share it with Congress, and we will share it with the American people. But right now, no definitive answer has emerged from the intelligence community on this question,” concluded Sullivan.