CIA Director William Burns said the U.S. is “confident” that China is considering providing Russia with lethal equipment for its war against Ukraine.
“We’re confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview set to air on Sunday. “We also don’t see that a final decision has been made yet, and we don’t see evidence of actual shipments of lethal equipment.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken initially accused China last weekend of considering such a step, which several top U.S. officials warned would result in serious consequences.
“That’s why, I think, Secretary Blinken and the President have thought it important to make very clear what the consequences of that would be as well … because it would be a very risky and unwise bet,” Burns added.
Retired four-star Army Gen. Jack Keane similarly suggested last Sunday that Blinken’s warning could serve as a deterrent.
“I agree with the administration for beginning to expose what they have picked up, likely in intelligence circles, that China is getting ready to provide some military lethal aid to Russia,” Keane told “Fox News Sunday.”
“And I think coming out and exposing — and I would go further and tell them — what we think they are attempting to provide, China will pull back, likely, after that public exposure,” he added.
China hit back at the U.S. over the allegations on Monday, accusing America of escalating the war in Ukraine and claiming that Beijing is firmly “on the side of peace and dialogue.”
“It is the U.S., not China, that has been pouring weapons into the battlefield,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a briefing. “The U.S. is in no position to tell China what to do.”