The Pentagon’s Vague Warning to China Regarding Russia’s Armament
Wednesday, the Pentagon vowed “consequences” for China if it grants Moscow’s desperate requests for arms and ammunition, but again refrained from specifying how it would carry out this stern but vague threat.
Despite repeated requests for specifics, spokeswoman Sabrina Singh provided a circumspect response during a press conference.
She stated, “I do not wish to predict any of these consequences.”
This was not the first ominous warning of its kind. In an interview that aired on CBS News on Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken described a “serious problem” if China seeks to strengthen its alliance with Russia at this time.
Analysts who study Chinese military tactics, however, believe that the deliberate ambiguity serves a larger purpose – that the vagueness of the U.S. threats is likely an attempt to foresee Beijing’s well-established strategy of evading Western restrictions.
Yun Sun, director of the China Program at the Stimson Center’s think tank, explains, “Once you get into what China can or cannot provide, the Chinese will always find a way to circumvent a specific list, and the Chinese are quite inventive.” “A broad statement is exhaustive.”
This week, China’s Wang Yi, the Communist Party’s most senior foreign policy official, traveled to Moscow for meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, ahead of a rumored visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping in the spring. The Russian military continues to suffer humiliating battlefield defeats, command failures, and logistical shortfalls in Ukraine as the country marks one year since its invasion on Friday – and as a reported spring offensive has already begun.
China has been debating whether or not to provide military assistance to Russia for months, particularly since mid-March, when the evidence of Russian battlefield errors and failures in Ukraine became readily apparent to the international community. Ultimately, it signaled a lack of interest in continuing military support pledged by the United States and its Western allies.
At the time, U.S. intelligence also suggested that China was alarmed by the brutality of Russian battlefield tactics, which, according to human rights groups, has worsened in the subsequent months.
This sentiment appears to have changed among Beijing’s decision-makers, especially as the threat of massive Russian losses becomes more probable. Analysts believe China views Russia as an irreplaceable economic and logistical partner, especially if it tries to execute a land-grab in the future on territory it considers to be its own – primarily Taiwan.