The US has information suggesting China has expressed willingness to provide Russia with requested military and financial assistance as part of its war on Ukraine, CNN quoted a Western official and an American diplomat as saying.
It is not yet clear whether China intends to provide Russia with that assistance, US officials familiar with the intelligence told CNN.
But during an intense, seven-hour meeting in Rome, a top aide to President Joe Biden warned his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping of “potential implications and consequences” for China should support for Russia be forthcoming, a senior administration official said.
The series of events underscored the growing concern among American officials at the budding partnership between Moscow and Beijing as Biden works to isolate and punish Russia for its aggression in Ukraine.
While officials have said the Chinese President was alarmed at what has taken place since Russia invaded, there is little to indicate China is prepared to cut off its support entirely, CNN reported.
That leaves open a troubling possibility for American officials — that China may help prolong a bloody conflict that is increasingly killing civilians, while also cementing an authoritarian alliance in direct competition with the US, the report said.
In a diplomatic cable, the US relayed to its allies in Europe and Asia that China had conveyed a willingness to assist Russia, which has asked for military support.
The cable did not state definitively that assistance had been provided.
One official also said the US warned in the cable that China would likely deny it was willing to provide assistance.