ANALYSIS – No, it’s not a surprise. As Phelim Kine at Politico’s China Watch newsletters points out: “The Biden administration’s efforts to enlist Chinese government support to isolate and punish Russia for its Ukraine invasion have hit a brick wall.”
Sadly, this is par for the course with President Biden’s visibly bumbling ineptitude, and his NatSec teams’ general weakness toward U.S. adversaries. And it doesn’t portend well for his flailing China policy.
Kine notes that China is keeping up its full-scale collusion with Russia and is rejecting any serious role in engaging with their ally, Russian leader ‘Vlad the Invader’ Putin,’ to end his brutal, unprovoked war against Ukraine; a war that both the European Union and the U.S. State Department claim have included war crimes.
Since Biden’s fruitless call with Chinese Communist Party Chairman Xi Jinping on Friday, Politico explains:
…the Chinese government has doubled down on messaging its unwillingness to help stop the slaughter in Ukraine. In an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Ambassador to the U.S. Qin Gang said China will maintain “normal trade, economic, financial, energy cooperation with Russia.”
And while Biden’s National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, claims that so far there are no indications that China has provided military aid to Russia, others are more skeptical.
“Of course, they’re going to give arms to the Russians. That’s what that [Chinese statement] means,” said retired Army general H.R. McMaster, national security adviser under President Trump, at a media roundtable Monday at the Hoover Institution, reported Politico.
China’s recalcitrant pro-Russian position, and Biden’s inability to move them, is thankfully provoking a public and (mostly Republican) congressional backlash that includes a slew of new initiatives to deter China from backing Russia’s war machine.
These GOP efforts will also include punitive measures such as stiff economic penalties if Beijing does help Putin. Politico reported:
Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida and Todd Young of Indiana channeled some of that exasperation with their Crippling Unhinged Russian Belligerence and Chinese Involvement in Putin’s Schemes (CURB CIPS) Act designed to block China from providing Russia financial system access to evade Western sanctions.
Those tools include the Cross-Border Interbank Payment System, China’s domestic version of the SWIFT interbank transfer system that the U.S. and its allies earlier this month blocked some Russian banks from accessing, and Russia’s System for Transfer of Financial Messages. “[CURB CIPS Act] would freeze or terminate any U.S.-based accounts connected to Chinese financial institutions — or block the U.S.-based property of such institutions — that engage in transactions with a Russian financial institution using either CIPS or SPFS,” a statement issued by Rubio’s office said.
And that’s just for starters. Possible Chinese economic or material support for the Ukraine invasion has prompted Rep. Scott Perry (R-Penn.) to make a renewed push for House Foreign Affairs Committee support for his H.R. 5286 Protecting Americans from Corporate Human Rights Abusers Act. That legislation will curtail Chinese state firms’ access to U.S. capital markets.
But there’s more, notes Politico. Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.), a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, is working to get approval of his Special Drawing Rights Oversight Act as another way to keep Chinese currency, the renminbi, out of Putin’s hands to fund his war.
Hill’s bill, introduced earlier this month, will limit the U.S. Treasury Department’s ability to approve funding for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that could benefit hostile regimes, including Russia.
“I think it’s time for us to recognize that to get at Russia, there are elements of our policies that have to touch China,” McMaster added, according to Politico. “We can’t let China get away with this double-speak with their engagement, calling on all parties ‘to respect sovereignty’ — it is time for us to be really tough on the Chinese Communist Party.”
Yes, it’s time for the U.S. to play hardball with communist China over Putin’s war, and everything else, and it appears it will take a Republican congress to do what team Biden can’t seem to accomplish.
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