Biden and Scholz agree on “Unlimited Sanctions” against Russia
US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed on Friday to keep imposing costs on Russia for its war in Ukraine, now in its second year, as a European Union official said any arms provided by China to Russia would trigger sanctions.
Mr Biden and Mr Scholz met in private in the Oval Office for more than an hour, a senior administration official said.
Their discussion focused on the importance of continued “global solidarity” with the people of Ukraine, and ongoing efforts to provide security, humanitarian, economic and political assistance to Ukraine.
Sitting next to Mr Scholz in the Oval Office, Mr Biden thanked the German leader for his “strong and steady leadership” and support for Ukraine.
Mr Scholz said it was important to demonstrate that the allies would back Kyiv “as long as it takes and as long as is necessary”.
Speaking before the meeting, United States officials said discussion points included the state of the war and how to respond if China provided military aid to Russia.
Mr Scholz’s brief one-day trip – there were no other meetings on his agenda – was his second to the White House since taking office in December 2021.
Mr Biden’s national security adviser also had a one-on-one meeting with his German counterpart .
Washington has said in recent weeks that China was considering providing weapons to Russia, although US officials have not provided evidence or said that such supplies have started. Beijing has denied any intention to arm Russia.
Washington has begun consulting allies about imposing possible sanctions on China should Beijing provide military support to Russia for its war in Ukraine, Reuters reported this week, citing US officials and other sources.
“We have not yet seen China do anything yet, as it relates to lethal weapons,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters before the meeting. “Every step China takes towards Russia makes it harder for China with Europe and other countries around the world.”
A senior EU official told a separate briefing it would be an “absolute red line” if China provided weapons to Russia, and that the EU would respond with sanctions.
Germany has typically taken a much less hawkish stance than the US on China, its top trading partner, but Mr Scholz also sent a strong warning to China on Thursday not to provide weapons to Moscow and appealed to Beijing to pressure Russia to pull back its forces, a speech noted and welcomed by US officials.
Mr Biden hailed Mr Scholz’s decision to sharply increase Germany’s military spending and diversify energy sources away from Russia, and said the two leaders had worked in lockstep with other allies to support Ukraine.
US officials said Ukraine was bracing for a new Russian offensive in the coming weeks.
“As Nato allies, we are making the alliance stronger,” Mr Biden said, as the US announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth US$400 million (S$537.6 million) that included ammunition and tactical bridges to move tanks and armoured vehicles.