Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., warned China against sending lethal military aid to help Russia fight Ukraine, suggesting the U.S. could respond by imposing sanctions on the Chinese government.
“China needs to know there will be consequences,” Cardin said during a “Fox News Sunday” interview. “We’ve isolated Russia economically. We can do the same thing in regard to sanctions against China.”
Cardin‘s comments came after multiple reports said China is considering sending artillery shells to Russia as the Russian military depletes its supply of ammunition a year into its invasion of Ukraine.
“China needs to understand that they need to be on the right side of history here,” Cardin told Fox News host Shannon Bream. “China should be with us.”
The senator referenced the United Nations General Assembly approving a nonbinding resolution on Thursday, the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion, calling for Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine and withdraw its forces.
The resolution passed 141-7, with 32 abstentions. China was one of the countries that abstained from the vote.
“China sat on the sidelines on that vote,” said Cardin. “That was wrong.”
During the interview, Cardin also called China a “major threat,” decrying the Chinese government for not standing with most of the world against Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“I do think China is a major threat against the United States,” said Cardin. “They’re encouraging this [Russia-Ukraine] war by working with Russia, now perhaps providing additional weapons for Russia to be able to pursue this war of aggression. This is an attack on the sovereignty of a democratic state. There is no question that Ukraine is the front line, but Russia will not stop there. And China’s assisting that.”
China expressed anger this past week after the Biden administration suggested that China was considering sending weapons and ammunition to Russia to help its war against Ukraine, saying, “The U.S. is in no position to tell China what to do.”
“It is the U.S. not China, that has been pouring weapons into the battlefield,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin said. “The U.S. is in no position to tell China what to do. We would never stand for finger-pointing, or even coercion and pressurizing from the U.S. on our relations with Russia.”
A new Fox News poll released on Sunday found that 68% of Americans think China is a “major threat” to the U.S. and another 26% see the country as a “minor” threat. Only 6% believe China poses no threat to the U.S.
“I’m with the 68%,” said Cardin.