German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Sunday that China "declared" it will not provide Russia with weapons for its war in Ukraine despite US claims, signaling that the German leader received some sort of assurance from Beijing.
"We all agree that there should be no arms deliveries, and the Chinese government has declared that it will not deliver any either," Scholz said at a press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, according to POLITICO. "We insist on this, and we are monitoring it."
Von der Leyen said that the US has provided "no evidence" to back up its assertion that China is considering arming Russia. "So far, we have no evidence of this, but we have to observe it every day," she said.
While making the accusation, US officials have also signaled they don’t have evidence to back it up. When asked on Thursday how serious China is about arming Russia, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby replied, "We actually don’t know the answer to that question." Kirby and other US officials have said they’ve seen no evidence that China has already sent weapons.
The US started making the accusation before China presented a 12-point peace plan to end the war in Ukraine, a proposal Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed openness to but was rejected by President Biden. Beijing also recently told the UN General Assembly that sending weapons to be used in the Ukraine war would prolong the conflict.
After making the claim, the US started pushing its allies to pledge to join in on sanctions against China if it does start arming Russia. In an interview that aired Sunday, Scholz said there would be "consequences" for Beijing if it shipped weapons for Russia’s use in the war.
On Friday, Scholz met with President Biden in Washington DC. According to a White House readout of the meeting, the two leaders "reiterated their commitment to impose costs on Russia for its aggression for as long as necessary." Scholz and Biden only offered brief remarks to the press before their meeting and did not hold the customary joint press conference afterward.
The last time Scholz was in Washington and held a joint press conference with Biden was on February 7, 2022. At the press conference, President Biden vowed to "bring an end" to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia invaded Ukraine. A recent report from investigative journalist Seymour Hersh alleged that the Biden administration was already plotting to bomb both Nord Stream pipelines.