Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday warned that China’s position in the global economy could be jeopardized if Beijing doesn’t take action to help end Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“Going forward, it will be increasingly difficult to separate economic issues from broader considerations of national interest, including national security,” Yellen said in a speech at the Atlantic Council.
“The world’s attitude towards China and its willingness to embrace further economic integration may well be affected by China’s reaction to our call for resolute action on Russia,” she added.
China has abstained from condemning the Russian invasion but has called for the war to come to an end and is promoting diplomacy. Yellen said that she “fervently” hoped Beijing would use its relationship with Moscow to help end the conflict.
Responding to Yellen’s remarks, Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said China “has been committed to promoting peace talks” while the US and its European allies are fueling the war. Instead of pushing for a diplomatic solution, the US and most NATO members have been pouring weapons into Ukraine.
“Some Western powers, in contrast, have been busy adding fuel to the flame to create new problems while associating the Ukraine crisis with China-Russia relations to shed the responsibility and to exploit the situation for their hidden strategic agenda,” Liu said.
Yellen and other Biden administration officials have been warning that China and other countries could face consequences if they help Russia evade Western sanctions. “The unified coalition of sanctioning countries will not be indifferent to actions that undermine the sanctions we’ve put in place,” Yellen said.
India is another country that hasn’t fallen in line with the Western sanctions campaign and is coming under pressure from the US and Europe. New Delhi has purchased Russian oil at a discount since the invasion started, prompting the Biden administration to threaten India with consequences if it drastically increases its Russian energy imports.
But India’s Russian oil imports are just a fraction of what the US’s European allies purchase, something India’s Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar pointed out at a press conference in Washington on Monday. “I suspect, looking at the figures, probably our total purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon. So you might want to think about that,” he said of Russian oil purchases.
Germany, one of Europe’s largest consumers of Russian energy, is reportedly considering snubbing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by not inviting him to an upcoming G7 meeting over New Delhi’s reluctance to condemn Russia’s invasion.