Sunak: China represents ‘systemic challenge for the world order’
China risked infuriating the West as leaked government documents from the US suggest Beijing has been secretly backing Russia with weapons during its ongoing conflict with Ukraine.
An intelligence summary, dated February 23, showed that China shipped weapons to Moscow before covering its tracks to ensure nobody found out.
The data was collected by US agents who managed to monitor meetings between some of Russia’s top secret service agents, with the shipments meant to be remaining a secret, according to the Washington Post.
Another file released from the leaked US documents also demonstrated how China may strike Ukraine with “significant” force, deeming any US or NATO weapons used against Russia as an escalation of war warranting greater firepower.
Beijing’s decision to send Russia weapons comes as the war in Ukraine rumbles on, with the West denouncing the actions of President Vladimir Putin in invading the European country last year.
The documents were among a host of leaked sources appearing on the online platform Discord from March this year.
Since China’s supposed position emerged, Qin Gang, the nation’s foreign minister, moved to say Beijing would not provide either side with weapons during the conflict and also said the country would limit the export of dual-use technology.
US President Joe Biden also waded into the leaks, claiming “there is nothing contemporaneous that I am aware of that is of great consequence”.
In the US, Jack Teixeira, 21, is accused of leaking rafts of data and is set to appear in court in Boston on Friday.
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There is no evidence that any weapons have been sent to Russia and Beijing continues to deny the accusation made against it.
Many leaders in the West have previously called on China’s President Xi Jinping to use his substantial influence over Putin in order to shift the rhetoric around the Ukraine war, believing he could be vital in acting as peacemaker.
Russia and China are historically linked and in recent times have shared an anger towards projects in the West such as NATO, and believe the current war comes as their rivals attempt to expand in Europe.
That relationship appeared to be cemented last month, when Xi visited Putin in Moscow, with the two presidents sharing a drink to confirm the “deepening of the Russian-Chinese partnership”.
This week, Annalena Baerbock – Germany’s foreign minister – reiterated the calls to Xi, saying no other nation had “more influence on Russia” than that of China.
Her remarks came after she had met with Gang in Beijing, where she also discussed her concern over China’s human rights issues, and the ongoing tension with Taiwan.
She said: “It is good that China has signalled its commitment to a solution but I have to say frankly that I wonder why the Chinese position so far does not include a call on the aggressor Russia to stop the war.”
Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has previously pushed for China to play a more pivotal role in Russia’s aggression, as has the European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen.
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