News ID: 100861
Publish Date : 09 March 2022 - 22:30

BEIJING/KIEV (Dispatches) -- Moves by U.S.-led NATO have pushed tension between Russia and Ukraine to a “breaking point”, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday.
At a daily news briefing, he urged the United States to take China’s concerns seriously and avoid undermining its rights or interests in handling the Ukraine issue and ties with Russia.
He also said China opposed any unilateral sanctions and curbs by the U.S., and urged that Washington’s policy towards Ukraine and Russia “should not harm China’s rights and interests”.
“China will take all necessary measures to resolutely defend Chinese companies’ and individuals’ rights,” said Zhao.
Chinese companies that defy U.S. restrictions against exporting to Russia may be cut off from American equipment and software they need to make their products, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told the New York Times earlier.
The U.S. could “essentially shut” down Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) or any Chinese companies defying U.S. sanctions by continuing to supply chips and other advanced technology to Russia, Raimondo said in an interview published on Tuesday.
Washington is also threatening to add companies to a trade blacklist if they skirt new export curbs against Russia, as it ramps up efforts to keep a vast array of technology out of the country that invaded Ukraine last month.
If the U.S. were to find that a company like SMIC was selling its chips to Russia, “we could essentially shut SMIC down because we prevent them from using our equipment and our software”, Raimondo was quoted as saying.
Two weeks of war have created a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine that has accelerated in recent days. The United Nations estimates that 2 million Ukrainians have fled their country, and the number is expected to grow.
On Tuesday, the Pentagon rejected Poland’s surprise announcement that it would give the United States its MiG-29 fighter jets for use by Ukraine, a rare display of disharmony by NATO allies seeking to boost Ukrainian fighters while avoiding getting caught up in a wider war with Russia.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Poland’s declaration that it intended to deliver the 28 jets to the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany raised the concerning prospect of warplanes departing from a U.S. and NATO base to fly into airspace contested with Russia in the Ukraine conflict.
“We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one,” Kirby said in a statement.
The proposed gift of more warplanes raises the risk of the war expanding beyond Ukraine. Russia has declared that supporting Ukraine’s air force would be tantamount to joining the war, and could spur retaliation.
White House officials were blindsided by the Polish announcement on the MiGs. The proposal did not come up during talks with Secretary of State Antony Blinken when he was recently in Poland, according to a U.S. official familiar with the talks.
The U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said White House officials did not think the proposal would easily solve the logistical challenges of providing aircraft to Ukraine.
Ukraine has been pleading for more warplanes as it tries to confront mightier Russian forces. Washington has been looking at a proposal under which Poland would supply Ukraine with the MiG-29s and in turn receive American F-16s to make up for their loss.
Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly the Soviet-era fighter jets.
The Polish government also appealed to other owners of MIG-29 jets to follow suit.
Former Soviet-bloc NATO members Bulgaria and Slovakia also still have Soviet-made fighter jets in their air forces.
Poland publicly floated its plan the day before Vice President Kamala Harris was scheduled to depart for Warsaw for talks with Polish officials. The disconnect is likely to add an awkward layer to the talks, which were expected to focus largely on U.S. efforts to help Poland and other eastern European nations that have taken in some 2 million refugees since the war started.
Militarily, the number of planes offered would make it unlikely to be a game-changer. And MiG-29s are inferior to more sophisticated Russian aircraft and could be easy prey for Russian pilots and Russian missiles.
A senior U.S. defense official said that Russia currently has the capacity to reach almost the entire country of Ukraine with its surface-to-air missiles, including from within Russia and from ships in the Black Sea.
Any MiG transfer is fraught with complications. Neither NATO nor the European Union wants to be seen as directly involved in such a transaction, which would sharply raise already extreme tensions with Russia.

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