US Concerned Over China’s Role in Facilitating Russia’s Military Expansion

A recent US assessment reveals that China is playing a crucial role in supporting Russia’s largest military buildup since Soviet times by increasing exports of machine tools, microelectronics, and other technologies used in missile, tank, and aircraft production for the war against Ukraine.

US officials hope this intelligence release will prompt European allies to pressure China, especially as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits Beijing this weekend and G7 foreign ministers convene next week in Italy.

According to US findings, China is assisting Russia in developing drones, space capabilities, and machine-tool exports critical for ballistic missile production.

“China has been instrumental in revitalizing Russia’s defense industrial base, which had otherwise suffered significant setbacks,” a senior US official stated anonymously to reporters.

“Russia is pursuing its most ambitious defense expansion since the Soviet era and on a faster timeline than anticipated,” the official added.

US officials emphasized the need to persuade China to cease aiding Russia in rebuilding its military industrial base, noting that Russia would struggle to sustain its war effort without Chinese assistance.

Specifically, China provided over 70% of Russia’s $900 million in machine tool imports in late 2023, likely used for ballistic missile production. Additionally, 90% of Russia’s microelectronics imports, vital for missile, tank, and aircraft production, came from China last year.

While China has refrained from directly providing weapons to Russia, US officials assert that Beijing’s support has focused on materials with purportedly non-military applications.

The Biden administration is counting on European engagement to influence China, particularly given China’s economic challenges and sensitivity to trade pressures.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to discuss China’s relationship with Russia during the G7 talks in Capri, Italy, where he will meet with diplomats from other industrial democracies.

Blinken plans to visit China in the coming weeks, following a trip by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, with the aim of mitigating tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

US officials are committed to addressing concerns about China’s support for Russia, emphasizing the historical importance of Europe’s stability to the United States and its intention to hold China accountable if Russia makes further military gains.

Additionally, on Friday, the US and UK took action to disrupt Russian export revenue by prohibiting metal-trading exchanges from accepting new aluminium, copper, and nickel produced by Russia and banning the import of these metals.