(PresidentialWire.com)- On Monday, national security advisor Jake Sullivan met in Rome with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi as Washington ramped up its warnings to Beijing about helping Moscow in its invasion of Ukraine.
The 7-hour meeting, which had been long-planned, took place as the Biden administration was warning its NATO allies and several Asian countries that China had signaled its willingness to provide military and economic aid to Russia to alleviate the pressure from US-led sanctions.
After the talks concluded, the White House issued a statement saying Sullivan raised a “range of issues” related to US/China relations, including a “substantial discussion” about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A senior administration official told reporters that Sullivan directly addressed the administration’s concerns over China’s alignment with Russia and the “potential implications and consequences of certain actions.”
The senior official reiterated that this Rome meeting had been long-planned and was not called in response to the current crisis in Ukraine. The meeting covered a range of other issues including North Korea, Taiwan, and other bilateral relations.
Describing the meeting as “intense” and “candid,” the official told reporters that the talks led to no specific outcomes.
According to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, Yang Jiechi said Beijing was committed to promoting negotiations as a way to resolve the current conflict in Ukraine. In what appeared to be a subtle dig at the Biden administration, Yang said China opposes the spreading of “false information” that distorts China’s position regarding Russia and Ukraine.
Before Monday’s talks, US officials said Sullivan planned to warn Yang that China would face global isolation if it supported Russia in the invasion. In recent weeks, officials both in the United States and other countries have been warning Beijing that aligning with Russia could carry consequences in trade, development of new technologies, and even secondary sanctions.
But as China is the world’s largest exporter, as well as the EU’s largest trading partner and the top foreign supplier of goods to the US, any pressure applied to Chinese trade would cause further economic blowback to the US and its allies.