U.S. officials talked with top Chinese representatives a half dozen times during a three-month period to urge them to tell Russia not to invade Ukraine, according to The New York Times.
The Times, attributing the information to unnamed sources, said the Americans showed intelligence revealing Russia’s buildup of troops around Ukraine, but the Chinese repeatedly dismissed it.
After one meeting in December, the U.S. received intelligence showing the Chinese representatives had shared the information with Russian officials, according to the Times. The Chinese reportedly told the Russians that the U.S. was attempting to sow discord.
The newspaper noted China is Russia’s most powerful partner, and U.S. officials believed it could convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to have second thoughts about an invasion.
President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a video summit on Nov. 15. The diplomatic outreach to China came after the meeting, The Times reported.
Just days later, U.S. officials met with the Ambassador Qin Gang at the Chinese Embassy and revealed that intelligence agencies had discovered a gradual encirclement of Ukraine by Russian forces.
The U.S. officials told China tough sanctions would be imposed by Russia for any invasion of Ukraine. And the U.S. any sanctions would hurt China because of its commercial ties. But Qin was skeptical of the Americans’ information.
The Americans spoke with the China officials at least three more times.
And Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister twice, according to the Times.
Meanwhile, Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry said this week that the United States was “the culprit of current tensions surrounding Ukraine.”
On Thursday, China rejected categorizing Russia’s attack of Ukraine as an invasion and blamed the Biden administration for fueling tensions with Moscow
Asked by several reporters during a daily news briefing in Beijing whether she would call the attack an invasion, she refused to give a yes or no answer.
“The U.S. has been fueling the flame, fanning up the flame, how do they want to put out the fire?” she said, according to CNBC.
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