National security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday warned that there could be costs for China, too, if the country is seen as backing a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The comments come just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping stood side by side at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. The more than 5,000 word statement released following the Putin-Xi meeting said the “friendship between the two States has no limits” and that “there are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation.”
The U.S. has warned Moscow of “severe economic costs” if troops move across Ukraine’s border. And those costs could affect China as well, Sullivan said on ABC’s “This Week,” though he said he believes China understands it is not positioned to “compensate Russia for the economic losses that would come from our sanctions.”
“If Russia does choose to move forward, not only will it come at a strategic cost to Russia, but if China is seen as having supported it, it will come at some costs to China as well in the eyes of the world, in the eyes of Europe and in the eyes of other countries who are looking on now and sending a clear message that they would prefer to see diplomacy over war,” Sullivan said.
It’s also worth noting that the English version of the Putin-Xi statement doesn’t mention the word Ukraine, Sullivan said earlier on “Fox News Sunday,” which “suggests that China is not so excited about cheerleading Russia on Ukraine.”
On multiple TV networks on Sunday, Sullivan spoke a similar narrative, telling reporters that the United States is prepared for any timeline in which Putin decides to act, whether an invasion comes in days or weeks. Sullivan and U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield both made it clear they believe diplomacy is still a viable path.
“We’re still working to discourage the Russians from making the wrong choice,” Thomas-Greenfield said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Sullivan also confirmed that the U.S. and its allies are willing to negotiate with Russia on missile deployments in Europe if Russia retreats.
“We are prepared alongside our allies and partners to negotiate issues of mutual concern when it comes to European security, and yes, that would include reciprocal limitations on the placement of offensive missiles,” Sullivan said on Fox. “It would include greater transparency measures, it would include mechanisms to reduce the possibility of mistake or escalation if there were incidents at sea or in the air. We are prepared to do all of that, just as we have been over the course of the past decades in the Cold War and after.”
During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, at the height of the Cold War, the U.S. made concessions on missiles in Turkey as part of a solution to a crisis that threatened to lead to nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union.
“If Russia wants to sit at the table into that, we are prepared to come flanked by allies and partners and negotiate an outcome along those lines,” Sullivan continued. “If Russia chooses to go a different path, we are ready for that too.”