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US prepares sanctions against China for supporting Russia's war against Ukraine

US prepares sanctions against China for supporting Russia's war against Ukraine The US is preparing to impose sanctions against China (photo: Getty Images)

The US is considering imposing sanctions on Chinese companies that are helping Russia fuel the war in Ukraine. The restrictions would be the first direct sanctions against Beijing, despite long-standing Western suspicions of its support for Russian military operations, according to CNBC.

Democratic Senator Gerald Connolly, a member of the US House Committee on Foreign Relations, on Saturday said that lawmakers were already considering such plans after similar measures were proposed last week by the European Union.

"China has to understand that the same kinds of sanctions which are beginning to really take hold in Russia and are affecting Russian productivity, economic performance, and quality of life, can also be applied to China," Connolly said.

US sanctions could severely hurt a Chinese economy already in the doldrums, after a slower-than-anticipated Covid-19 recovery and turbulence in its real estate sector. But such a step could also hurt the US, given the countries’ trade interdependence, and this consideration has prompted caution from Washington in the past.

Still, Connolly said that would not deter such penalties, which could come very soon.

"My hope is the very threat of it — and the fact that the Europeans are really serious about this, which is a relatively recent development — ought to clarify some thinking in Beijing, I hope. If broad sanctions were applied to China, it would really hit home. And their economic performance right now is already weak. So I would hope China would calculate carefully that there are consequences around the corner for supporting Russia’s violence and depravity in Ukraine," he said.

Responding to a question about whether the US is considering imposing sanctions on China similar to those proposed by the EU, Senator Ben Cardin said that Congress is currently considering options with the Biden administration and that this will require greater cooperation with other countries.

The US intelligence report notes that China is also becoming an increasingly important enabler for Russia in its military efforts, potentially providing Moscow with key dual-use technologies and equipment used in the war against Ukraine.

A September investigation by CNBC showed that Chinese firms play a crucial role in bolstering Russia's military potential, particularly through the trade of goods for use on the battlefield in Ukraine. A separate report published in January indicated that China has become a key channel for supplying critically important Western technologies to Russia.

Beijing has rejected these accusations, stating that its trade with Moscow is normal economic cooperation not aimed at any third party.

China-Russia relations

China has drawn closer ties with Russia since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In particular, Beijing has refused to join the sanctions imposed by the US against the Kremlin.

Beijing and Moscow share a mutual interest in challenging US dominance in the world order, as their relations with democratic countries become increasingly tense.

Recently, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated that Beijing does not supply lethal weapons to Russia, nor does it sell lethal weapons to conflict areas or parties to the conflict.

However, China's permanent representative to the UN, Zhang Jun, previously called on the US to stop supplying weapons to Ukraine.

The European Union plans to impose sanctions on Chinese companies that it believes are helping Russia circumvent Western restrictions aimed at curbing its war in Ukraine.

Proposals that will be part of the 13th package of sanctions by the bloc since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion may be ready by the end of this month, ahead of the second anniversary of the war. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stated that these plans have become more relevant following the death of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.