President Joe Biden said that while he doesn't expect China will provide arms to Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, there would be "a response" if it did. Photo by Will Oliver/UPI/Pool | License Photo
Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Contradicting others from within his administration, President Joe Biden says he does not expect China will send weapons to Russia to aid in its year-long invasion of Ukraine.
Biden asserted in a Friday interview with ABC News he "doesn't anticipate" Beijing will help arm Moscow as it wages war on Ukraine, but added there would be a U.S. response if it did.
"I don't anticipate -- we haven't seen it yet, but I don't anticipate a major initiative on the part of China providing weaponry to Russia," Biden he said in remarks noting the one-year anniversary of Russia's unprovoked attack on its neighbor.
When pressed on if sending arms to Russia would constitute "crossing a line" for China, Biden said the United States "would respond" in that case, referring to sanctions some other countries have come under for supporting the invasion.
"It would be the same line everyone else would have crossed. In other words, we've imposed severe sanctions on anyone who has done that," the president said.
The remarks contradicted assertions made by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this week, who warned Beijing is actively considering providing weapons and ammunition to aid Moscow in its war against Ukraine.
"We've been concerned from day one about that possibility," Blinken said Sunday during an appearance on Face the Nation, adding, "There's a whole gamut of things that fit in that category, everything from ammunition to the weapons themselves."
During his interview on Friday, Biden also dismissed a proposal for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine issued by China.
Beijing on Thursday issued a 12-point position on a potential political settlement in Ukraine, which restates many of Beijing's previously announced stances on the war and mentions the Kremlin's "legitimate security concerns."
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Kremlin "welcomed" China's proposal.
"If Putin is applauding it, so how could it be good"? Biden told ABC. "I've seen nothing in the plan that would indicate that there is something that would be beneficial to anyone other than Russia if the Chinese plan were followed."