Stoltenberg threatened China: "Discussions on possible sanctions are underway"

The Secretary General of NATO said that China must face the consequences for supporting the aggressive policy of the Kremlin

by Sededin Dedovic
Stoltenberg threatened China: "Discussions on possible sanctions are underway"
© Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, said in an interview with the BBC that China should face consequences for supporting Russia's war in Ukraine if it does not change its actions. Beijing is "trying to have it both ways" by supporting Russia’s war efforts while maintaining relationships with European allies.

"This cannot work in the long run," Stoltenberg told the BBC during his visit to Washington. In a comprehensive interview, Stoltenberg also discussed nuclear weapons and defense spending. His comments come as Russia shows no signs of easing its war against Ukraine.

At a peace summit held in Switzerland over the weekend, dozens of countries pledged to support Kyiv, but Russia called it a waste of time and said it would agree to peace talks only if Ukraine essentially surrenders. When asked what NATO members could do about China’s support for Russia, Stoltenberg said "talks are ongoing" about possible sanctions.

He said China "shares a lot of technology, such as microelectronics, which are crucial for Russia to make missiles and weapons used against Ukraine." He added that "at some stage, we should consider some kind of economic cost if China doesn’t change its behavior." Beijing is already under some sanctions for its support of Russia – last month, the US announced restrictions targeting around 20 firms based in China and Hong Kong.

China has defended its business with Moscow, saying it does not sell lethal weapons and "handles dual-use item exports wisely in accordance with laws and regulations." Stoltenberg's visit to Washington came after the Kremlin confirmed that Vladimir Putin would travel to North Korea on Tuesday.

This followed his visit to China last month.


President Joe Biden (R) meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office of the White House on June 17© Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

Russia has become increasingly isolated on the world stage since launching its full-scale war with Ukraine in 2022.

Putin has repeatedly said that the balance of power in the West is shifting and has worked to strengthen ties with like-minded countries. "Russia is increasingly aligning with authoritarian leaders," Stoltenberg told the BBC, citing Iran, Beijing, and North Korea.

He said the North has sent artillery shells to Russia, and in return, Russia has provided advanced technology for North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs. "So, North Korea is helping Russia wage an aggressive war against Ukraine." By helping Russia, China is an active accomplice in the aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine China has certainly become the most important supplier of microelectronics to Moscow, which are crucial for Russia's war objectives.

American researchers see this as preparations for a war against NATO, reports DW. After appointing economist Andrei Belousov as the new Minister of Defense, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Chinese President Xi Jinping.

According to a new American study, China has become the most important supplier of microelectronics and machine tools for Russian weapons since 2023. Putin demonstrates that he intends to continue transforming Russian industry into a war economy.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bejing October 2023© Pool / Getty Images

At the end of 2023, the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) calculated that, in the worst-case scenario, NATO has only five years left to maintain its deterrence potential against a possible Russian attack on a NATO country.

The author of the study, Christian Mölling, head of DGAP's Center for Security and Defense, has now renewed his analysis considering the strengthening of Russian military forces in the war against Ukraine. "Putin lives only through this war," Mölling said in an interview with DW.

"He needs the war because he has invoked so many spirits that they probably cannot accept peace." The American think tank CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) concluded in a study published in April that "Putin's ongoing comprehensive military reforms" in the war against Ukraine show that "Russia might be preparing for a conflict with NATO in the next two decades, including a large-scale conventional war." CSIS, a Washington-based institute reportedly close to the American arms industry, has investigated the supply of Russian weaponry from abroad and the evasion of Western sanctions for the second time since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Since the spring of 2023, China has become Russia's most important supplier: "Almost all leading microelectronics exporters are based in China and Hong Kong, and one company is based in Turkey," the study notes. Chinese exports of microelectronics to Russia surged in March 2023.

At that time, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. "Russian imports of CNC machines from Chinese companies - used to manufacture precision parts for various weapon systems, from ammunition to aircraft - also surged in the months following the meeting between Xi and Putin in March 2023," CSIS notes.

In several charts, the institute shows that between March and July 2023, companies from China and Hong Kong supplied Russia with electronics between 200,000 and 300,000 times each month, CSIS revealed in its investigation, reported by Deutsche Welle.

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