In a “intense” seven-hour meeting in Rome with Chinese Central Foreign Affairs Commission Director Yang Jiechi (), US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan laid out Washington’s case against Russia’s invasion, pointing out that Moscow had pretended to be interested in diplomacy while preparing for invasion, and that the Russian military was clearly showing signs of frailty.
The US group in Rome had not anticipated the Chinese diplomats to engage in negotiations, considering them to be mere messengers for Beijing.
“It was an intense seven-hour session, reflecting the gravity of the moment, as well as our commitment to maintaining open lines of communication,” a senior US official said. “This meeting was not about negotiating specific issues or outcomes, but about a candid, direct exchange of views.”
Asked if it had been successful, the official replied: “I suppose it depends on how you define success, but we believe that it is important to keep open lines of communication between the United States and China, especially on areas where we disagree.”
However, US officials left the Rome meeting doubtful that the Chinese government would reconsider its support for Moscow.
“The key here is first to get China to recalculate and re-evaluate their position. We see no sign of that re-evaluation,” another US official with knowledge of the talks said.“ They’ve already decided that they’re going to provide economic and financial support, and they underscored that today. The question really is whether they will go further.”
Armed drones and various types of ammunition are at the top of Russia’s military shopping list in China, but military transfers would be difficult.
The Americans, on the other hand, left Rome doubtful that the Chinese government would reconsider its support for Moscow.
“Both sides understand that they don’t share common systems, and so that makes it problematic,” the official said.
The Russian military is also requesting ration boxes, according to CNN, highlighting the country’s significant logistical issues in a longer and more difficult fight than expected.
In Washington, there is skepticism about the likelihood of persuading China to abandon its alliance with Russia, primarily because the collaboration is seen as being pushed from the top.
“It really is a project of [Chinese President] Xi Jinping (習近平). He is totally, fundamentally behind this closer partnership with Russia,” the US official said.
Although Moscow cannot access virtually all of its $640 billion in gold and foreign exchange reserves, Beijing retains a fraction of those assets in yuan, allowing it to intervene rapidly.
There is cynicism in Washington about getting China to break its partnership with Russia, largely because the collaboration is regarded as being forced from the top.” It is undeniably Xi Jinping’s project.” The US official went on to say, “He is absolutely and utterly dedicated to a closer relationship with Russia.” A higher level of skepticism exists. If China joins Russia in its confrontation with the West, the Biden administration will shift its focus to encouraging friends, particularly in Europe, to rethink their positions.
“It really is a project of Xi Jinping. He is totally, fundamentally behind this closer partnership with Russia,” the US official said.
Lower down the ranks, there is more skepticism, but Xi and Putin have bonded over their shared opinion of the US as being heavy-handed and high-handed, and they are determined to put an end to the US’s worldwide domination. If China joins Russia in its confrontation with the West, the Biden administration will shift its focus to encouraging friends, particularly in Europe, to reconsider their ties with Beijing. Sullivan is a successful businessman.
“The United States believes that the key here is a careful process of dialogue and discussion with Europe about what China is revealing about its global policies and priorities,” the US official said. “Our goal basically is to carefully engage China, letting the Europeans know [what we are doing] all along, but if it becomes clear that [China] is moving in another direction, so be it.”