Nicholas Burns, the US Ambassador to China, warned Beijing about supporting Moscow and called for talks during a speech on Tuesday.
Burns said Washington has “been unmistakably clear” in its warnings to Beijing about providing Moscow with military aid for the war in Ukraine. “What we need to see from China is to push Russia to remove its troops,” the Ambassador stated. Burns went on to demand Beijing adopts a “tough-minded stance” against Moscow.
Over the past year, the White House has warned China several times against sending weapons to Russia. Beijing has denied the allegations and asserted Washington is fueling the war by providing billions in weapons to Ukraine.
The diplomat downplayed China’s potential role as a mediator in ending the conflict. Burns said the call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Chinese leader XI Jinping was a good first step but refused to say Beijing is trying to end the war.
In addition to criticizing Beijing, Burns called for high-level talks with China with certain conditions. “Our view is we need better channels between the two governments and deeper channels, and we are ready to talk,” he continued, “We’ve never been shy of talking, and we hope the Chinese will meet us halfway on this.”
While the diplomat called on China to meet the US halfway, he stressed Washington’s commitment to several policies that Beijing abhors. Burn’s demanded Beijing drop its statement that it could use military force to impose reunification with Taiwan. Beijing views Taiwan as a part of China and Washington’s growing ties with Taipei as encouraging independence.
Burns noted Washington’s dedication to the military buildup in the Indo-Pacific. Recently, the US announced it would move a nuclear submarine to Korea. A Chinese official denounced the deployment, arguing that “The United States has put regional security at risk and intentionally used the issue of the peninsula as an excuse to create tension.”
Burns additionally stressed the importance of America’s growing relationship with India and the Philippines. Both New Delhi and Manila have conflicting territorial ties with Beijing. Last week, the State Department said an attack on a Philippines vessel in a disputed region would activate the US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty.