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In a rarefied climate of mistrust, the United States and China analyzed the Russian invasion of Ukraine

It is rare that such an important meeting is ruined in the moments leading up to it, but the meeting between the security adviser to US President Joseph Biden, Jake Sullivan, and the head of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese Communist Party, Yan Jiechi, started in an almost inflamed climate at noon at the Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria hotel at the top of Monte Mario in Rome.

The theme: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which in just twenty days has changed the world, making it enter the quagmire of a new world crisis, already baptized like the Cold Peace era.

The trigger was in less than 48 hours the publication of revelations by anonymous US officials to the New York Timesto the Washington Post and to Financial Times londoner Subject: Russia asked China for arms support to use in its war against Ukraine that began recently, on February 24, and also to evade the unbearable mountain of economic and financial sanctions by the United States and the 27 countries of the European Union .

The meeting between Sullivan and Yan Jiechi had been organized and announced since last week, but the appearance of the complaints changed the perspectives. China responded that the US revelations were false. Russia never asked for military help or solidarity to ease sanctions.

Armored and secret, the Chinese representatives in Rome. AP Photo

On Sunday, in the US, Sullivan gave an interview to the CNN few hours before traveling to Rome. “I’m not going to sit here making threats,” she said. “But what I am going to say is that we are communicating to Beijing, directly and privately, that there will definitely be consequences.” if China helps Russia recover from economic sanctions.


“We are not going to tolerate that, we are not going to tolerate any country in the world helping Russia to evade sanctions.”

As the US embassy, ​​which is on Via Veneto, announced that there will be no final communiqué of the important bilateral meeting, it is assumed that there will be no illumination of the accusations.

A spokeswoman, Emily Horne, of the US National Security Council, said on Sunday that Sullivan and Yan Jiechi would exchange ideas “on current efforts to manage the competition between our two countries and the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on regional and global security.”

Joe Biden adviser Jake Sullivan.  Reuters photo

Joe Biden adviser Jake Sullivan. Reuters photo

This paragraph demonstrates the importance of the Rome dialogue. A geopolitical magazine sold out in a few hours on newsstands with a disturbing title: “Russia changes the world”.

Sullivan surely emphasized to his Chinese interlocutor that the denunciations by US officials reported in the press that Moscow asked China for military and economic aid, made dialogue more necessary and difficult.

Much more so when China totally denied the accusations as false. If the press launched the pack of anonymous Washington government officials, there is no doubt that the government of President Biden consider the situation serious.


In the declaration that Vladimir Putin signed when he traveled to Beijing for the Winter Olympics, with President Xi Jinping, there are three words that Americans experience as a punch: the “friendship without limits” between China and Russia.

What is predominant? China has different perspectives and interests from Russia. Its economy is of overwhelming dimensions compared to 1.6 trillion (millions of millions) per year of the Russian economy, who is behind brazil as the twelfth economic power in the world.

In the case of sanctions, in the US they remember that China maintains good relations and also wants an open world, like the Americans and the Europeans, which together have overwhelming dimensions against Russia.

In Europe, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy represent a 10 to 1 economic buildup against Russia, not to name the rest of the 27 Union partners. The United States marked $20 trillion of GDP in 2021. China 12 billion.

Can China choose “unlimited friendship” with Russia? In a media roundup Sullivan put together on Sunday, he said strong things in advance to his interlocutor Yan Jiechi. The White House is ‘keeping a close eye’ on China to find out if it provides economic or material support to Russia to help her evade the impact of sanctions.

“It is a concern of ours and we will not allow any country to compensate Russia for losses resulting from economic sanctions,” Sullivan said. Good thing he didn’t want to “brandish threats.”

China did not vote against the punishment of 141 countries to Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. He refrained. China needs an open world to develop its fantastic economy, and its ambition as a superpower, to make the Silk Roads work.

Few know that in Ukraine China owns 42 million hectares in one of the world’s breadbaskets. And that with vast investments it has promoted its economic expansion routes there.

The economy

Russia changed the borders of Europe with an act of force. It is not in China’s interest to support such a strategy. Vladimir Putin’s invasion revitalized the European Union and the same military alliance, NATO.

It has settled the Atlantic solidarity between the United States and Western Europe, it has popularized NATO: even in Finland, which has a 1,350-kilometre border with Russia and remains neutral, a poll showed that 62% of the Finns prefer to join NATO to feel more secure. And also neutral Sweden debates the matter.

The costs of Putin’s war adventure are weighing more heavily on the Chinese every day. With good judgment, Beijing has offered itself as a friendly fixer.

It is rumored in the Vatican that the Church, which offers the mediation of the Pope in high places, is also in dialogue with the Chinese to straighten out the immense mess that Putin has caused with his invasion and avoid the worst consequences.

The Russian president insists that he believes that Russians and Ukrainians are the same people. It is then more inexplicable that he treats the invaded as his worst enemies. The Ukrainians are a tough people, who know how to resist and sacrifice. As are the Russians and they demonstrated it in the Second World War, with a balance of 25 million dead.

Putin has entered a dead end but can cause even more disasters. The Chinese won’t follow.


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