National security adviser Jake Sullivan issued a direct warning to his Chinese counterpart Monday about the potential consequences of any assistance that Beijing might provide Russia in its war with Ukraine, officials said, following Moscow’s recent request for military equipment and aid.
The seven-hour meeting in Rome between Sullivan and Yang Jiechi, planned several weeks ago, took on added urgency as Russia’s war against Ukraine dragged into its third full week without any signs of winding down. A day after Russia launched a salvo of cruise missiles at a military facility near the Ukraine-Poland border, the United Nations estimated the total civilian toll in Ukraine at 596 dead and 1,067 injured, though it has said it believes that the actual figures are “considerably higher.”
Sullivan’s meeting — which a senior administration official described as “intense” and “candid” — came amid reports that President Biden is considering a trip to Europe in the coming weeks to rally and reassure allies, a visit that would follow Vice President Harris’s trip to Poland and Romania last week. And congressional leaders announced that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would deliver a virtual address to Congress on Wednesday, an event likely to carry deep emotional resonance.
Biden officials declined to disclose any specific warnings Sullivan may have conveyed to the Chinese about offering assistance to Russia, but the senior administration official said that the United States has “deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia at this time” and that Sullivan was “direct” with the Chinese about “the potential implications and consequences of certain actions.” The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters during a phone call with reporters.