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Two U.S. lawmakers have introduced a bill to investigate whether the Chinese communist regime has assisted Russia in evading Western sanctions for the Ukraine invasion.

“Silence and deference from the People’s Republic of China [PRC] toward the Russian Federation cannot be ignored,” said Rep. Young Kim (R-Calif.), one of the lawmakers who introduced the bill, according to a March 7 press release.

The Chinese regime has repeatedly refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, despite growing calls from the United States and others. Instead, Beijing has blamed Washington and NATO for instigating the conflict.

“The way Russia has cozied up to the Chinese in recent months is concerning, and we need to make sure China isn’t helping Putin and his cronies evade sanctions and, by extension, supporting this appalling, violent invasion of a sovereign country,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), the bill’s other co-sponsor, said in a statement.

The bill would require the Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other officials to submit a report to and brief Congress on the extent to which the Chinese authorities and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-affiliated entities may have assisted Russian in evading sanctions.

If passed, the legislation would ensure the United States “sends a clear message to the PRC and CCP that any efforts to assist Russia in evading U.S.-imposed sanctions will not be tolerated and will be met with severe costs” Kim said in the statement.

The proposed bill came amid worries that Beijing, Moscow’s top trade partner, could help its neighbor blunt the impact of international sanctions, given their strengthened ties.

The regime helped Russia withstand the impact of sanctions after Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, according to the U.S. government.

“China has intensified economic, energy, and technological ties with Russia — especially after the United States and European nations imposed sanctions in response to Moscow’s illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its continuing aggression in the eastern Ukraine,” the U.S. Department of State said in a 2020 report.

“The PRC worked with Russia to increase use of the Chinese yuan and Russian ruble over the U.S. dollar in bilateral trade, in part to insulate both nations from U.S.-led financial sanctions,” it stated.

Since 2014, trade between the two countries has surged more than 50 percent. China’s official customs data showed its trade with Russia surged nearly 36 percent in 2021 to record $146.9 billion. The two neighboring countries aim to boost it to $240 billion in 2024, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said during the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing on the opening day of the Winter Olympics.

The summit culminated in a lengthy joint document announcing that the two sides had “no limits” friendship with “no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation.”

The closer partnership they displayed fuelled speculation about whether Xi was aware of Putin’s plan to attack Ukraine in advance. CCP officials had reportedly asked Moscow officials to delay the attack until after the Beijing Winter Olympics.

On Feb. 21, one day after the close of the Games, Putin announced the moving of troops into two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, a precursor to the full-scale invasion three days later.

China, whose ruling communist party has refused to characterize Moscow’s actions as an invasion, lifted the restrictions on Russian wheat on the first day of Russia’s assault. On day 12 of the war in Ukraine, China’s top diplomat declared the regime’s ties with Moscow were “rock solid.”

In a March 8 video summit with the French and German leaders, Xi reiterated Beijing’s opposition to the West’s sanctions.

The United States and its allies have imposed a spate of sanctions against Russia in response to the war in Ukraine. The latest move announced by Washington was a ban on Russian oil imports.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on March 8 warned Chinese firms seeking to defy U.S sanctions by providing Russia with chips and other supplies could be “essentially shut” down.

The Epoch Times

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