For China it's not "if" its "when".
We have no strategic interest in Ukraine. Russia isn't going to take over Europe. Anyone who believes NATO's under threat is channeling the same Domino theory that got us involved in Vietnam.
China, on the other hand, imports 70% of its energy. They have a strategic interest an supporting Russia which is a key provider of their energy. End of story.
There is absolutely nothing we can say or do to stop them from supplying Russia. We can, however, have backchannel discussions with them to help negotiate a conclusion to the war. That starts with our forcing Zelensky to negotiate.
China, Russia and the U.S. ‘Red Line’ on Ukraine
What will Biden do if Beijing sends military aid to Moscow?
By The Editorial BoardFollow
Feb. 20, 2023 6:13 pm ET
President Biden’s visit to Kyiv on Monday was an important symbolic display of American support for Ukraine, and credit to him for traveling into a war zone. But the bigger Ukraine news in recent days may be the public alarms coming from U.S. officials that China could soon provide Russia with military aid.
“The concern that we have now is, based on information we have, that they’re considering providing lethal support,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS News on Sunday. “And we’ve made very clear to them that that would cause a serious problem for us and in our relationship.” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield went further on CNN, saying Chinese military aid “would be a red line.”
The use of “red line” as a diplomatic ultimatum has a degraded reputation after President Obama declared one to deter chemical-weapons attacks in Syria but then failed to enforce it when those weapons were used. Is the Biden Administration more serious about enforcement now, and what would that mean?
The concern is heightened after what appears to have been a contentious meeting between Mr. Blinken and China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference over the weekend. The U.S. pursued China for the meeting, hoping to reset relations after the spy balloon episode.
Mr. Wang finally granted the meeting, but China boasted in a public readout afterward that the U.S. had sought the bilateral session. The implication of the U.S. as supplicant was clear. Mr. Blinken said afterward that China had offered no apology for sending the balloon over U.S. airspace and military sites.
Mr. Wang reinforced the point in his public remarks in Munich, chastising the U.S. for what he called an “absurd and hysterical” response to the balloon. He also blamed the U.S. for being an obstacle to peace in Ukraine. Mr. Wang was heading to Moscow after Munich even as Mr. Biden was going to Kyiv.
The U.S. says China has provided Russia with technical and economic support for the war, but so far not weapons. Mr. Blinken’s alarm about the prospect is warranted because it would exacerbate the conflict, add to the bloodshed, and make it harder for Ukraine to recapture occupied territory. It would also extend the war, further depleting the West’s weapons stockpiles that are already stretched after a year of backing Ukraine.
To put it more bluntly, arming Russia would be a new and explicit demonstration of China’s hostile intentions toward the U.S. and the West. It would certainly erase Beijing’s seeming desire since the Biden meeting with President Xi Jinping in Bali late last year to put U.S.-China relations on a better course. It would also require a firm U.S. response, which would have to include further economic decoupling.
But Mr. Xi and his war hawks may be willing to take that risk if they want to prevent a Russian defeat in Ukraine. China may want to bleed the West of its weapons and see if Russia can outlast political support in Washington and European capitals for Ukraine. This would be foolish, and bad for China and the world, but the possibility is one more urgent reason for Members of both parties in Congress to get serious about rebuilding U.S. defenses.