On “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Mr. Blinken said he had shared concerns with Mr. Wang that China was considering providing weapons and ammunition to aid Russia’s campaign in Ukraine, and that such an action would have “serious consequences” for the U.S.-Chinese relationship.
“To date, we have seen Chinese companies — and, of course, in China, there’s really no distinction between private companies and the state — we have seen them provide nonlethal support to Russia for use in Ukraine,” Mr. Blinken said.
“The concern that we have now is, based on information we have, that they’re considering providing lethal support,” he added. “And we’ve made very clear to them that that would cause a serious problem for us and in our relationship.”
U.S. officials have emphasized that China by itself is limited in its ability to supply Russia with all the goods it needs. China does not produce the most advanced types of semiconductors, for example, and restrictions imposed by the United States in October will prevent Beijing from buying some of the most advanced types of chips, and the equipment used to make them, from other parts of the world.
Russia is unable to produce precision missiles today because the country no longer has access to leading-edge semiconductors made by the United States, Taiwan, South Korea and other allied sources, a senior administration official said on Monday.
“While we are concerned about Russia’s deepening ties with them, Beijing cannot give the Kremlin what it does not have, because China does not produce the advanced semiconductors Russia needs,” Mr. Adeyemo said during his remarks. “And nearly 40 percent of the less advanced microchips Russia is receiving from China are defective.”
But Ivan Kanapathy, a former China director for the National Security Council, said that most of what Russia needed for its weapons were less advanced chips, which are manufactured in plenty in China.