China says US started Ukraine conflict and is profiting from it

Beijing dismisses as ‘groundless blackmail’ Washington’s claim that Chinese companies are helping Russia’s war effort

China has accused the United States of starting the conflict in Ukraine and of fuelling the war and profiteering from it by supplying heavy weapons to Kyiv. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning was responding to a Bloomberg report that US officials confronted Beijing with evidence that some of China’s state-owned companies were helping Moscow’s war effort.

“The US is the one who started the Ukraine crisis and the biggest factor fuelling it,” she said.

“Rather than reflecting on its own acts, the US has been sowing paranoia and pointing fingers at China. We reject such groundless blackmail and would not sit by and watch the US harm the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”

Ms Mao said China would never add fuel to the flames of the conflict but accused Washington of doing so by pouring more weapons into the theatre and “profiteering” from the build-up. Earlier on Monday, a Russian newspaper said China’s most senior diplomat Wang Yi will visit Moscow in February but Ms Mao said she was not aware of such a plan.


“We are convinced that the potential for Russian-Chinese bilateral co-operation is still far from exhausted,” Russia’s foreign ministry said on Monday.

China has not joined the United States and its allies in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and it has deepened trade ties with Moscow over the past year. But Beijing, which also enjoyed good relations with Kyiv before the war, has avoided breaching western sanctions against Russia and has repeatedly called for a negotiated solution to the conflict.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken is expected to visit Beijing next weekend as part of an effort to put “guardrails” around the relationship between the two superpowers following a meeting last November between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden. Ms Mao warned Washington ahead of Mr Blinken’s visit that it must not step across China’s “red line” on Taiwan or call into question the One China policy, which she characterised as the foundation of the US-China relationship.

“China is willing, with the utmost sincerity and greatest effort, to pursue peaceful reunification but we will not promise to abandon the use of force,” she said, adding that Beijing must “reserve the option of taking all necessary measures” to reintegrate Taiwan.

Mike McCaul, the Republican chair of the foreign affairs committee in the US House of Representatives said on Sunday that he shared the view of a senior military officer that the US and China were likely to go to war over Taiwan in two years from now. Gen Mike Minihan, who heads the Air Mobility Command, told his officers last week that they should prepare for the conflict by firing a “clip” at a target and aiming for its head.

“I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me will fight in 2025,” he said.

During a visit to South Korea this week, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg described China as a challenge “to our values, to our interests, and to our security”. Ms Mao said Nato had strayed far from its original purpose as a defensive alliance, adding that China sought to be a partner to other countries rather than challenging them.

“We also hope that Nato will abandon its cold war mentality and the concept of bloc confrontation, and do more for the security and stability of Europe and the world,” she said.

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is China Correspondent of The Irish Times