German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has doubled down on his calls for China to refrain from sending arms to Russia during its invasion of Ukraine. He also said there would be “consequences” if the suggestion were ignored.
Scholz’s comments came just two days after meeting with President Joe Biden in Washington. They were also preceded by a warning from US officials that China could get more involved in the war by supplying arms and ammunition to Moscow.
“I think it would have consequences, but we are now at a stage where we are clarifying that this should not happen, and I am relatively optimistic that we will be successful with our claim in this case, but we will have to look at (it) and we need to be very, very careful,” Scholz said in an interview aired on Sunday.
The German chancellor did not elaborate on potential actions Germany, NATO or the European Union could take.
GERMAN CHANCELLOR OLAF SCHOLZ CALLS ON CHINA TO REFRAIN FROM SENDING WEAPONS TO RUSSIA
During the interview, Scholz said he was quite optimistic that Beijing will refrain from supplying arms. He also urged Beijing to pressure Moscow to withdraw its forces from Ukraine.
Scholz has since returned to Germany, where he and his cabinet met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday. After the meeting, he spoke more about potential arms deliveries.
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During a press conference, a reporter asked if he had seen concrete evidence from the United States that China was considering the option and if Germany would sanction China, its main trading partner in recent years, in case of sending weapons.
The German chancellor replied: “We are all in agreement that there must be no arms deliveries, and the Chinese government has stated that it will not deliver any. This is what we are asking for and we are observing it.”
He did not elaborate further or directly answer the question about sanctions.
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The European Commission president also spoke out and said she has seen no evidence of China supplying weapons to Russia, but will continue to monitor the situation.
“We have to observe it every day,” said Von der Leyen.
He said the idea that the EU could impose sanctions “is a hypothetical question that can only be answered if it were to become a reality and a fact”.
Iran has supplied Russia with weapons and drones, while many European countries and the United States have assisted Ukraine by supplying the country with tanks and aircraft.
The Associated Press contributed to this report