China's Foreign Ministry on Monday said the United States "is not qualified to lecture" on the supplying of arms amid concerns from US officials that Beijing is considering providing "lethal support" to Russia's military.
Speaking to reporters, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said: "It is the US side, not the Chinese side, that supplies a steady stream of weapons to the battlefield."
"The US side is not qualified to lecture China, and we would never accept the US dictating or even coercing pressure on Sino-Russian relations," he said.
"Who is calling for dialogue and peace and who is handing out knives and encouraging confrontation?"
Wang added that China continues to "urge peace and promote talks" to resolve the conflict in Ukraine and that it stands firmly on "playing a constructive role in promoting the de-escalation and cooling down the situation."
Some context: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday he has concerns that Beijing is considering stepping up its partnership with Moscow by supplying Russia's military with “lethal support.” Blinken raised the issue when he met with China's top diplomat Wang Yi on Saturday, officials said.
CNN previously reported that the US has begun seeing “disturbing” trendlines of late in China’s support for Russia’s military, and there are signs that Beijing wants to “creep up to the line” of providing lethal military aid to Russia without getting caught, according to US officials familiar with the intelligence.
The officials would not describe in detail what intelligence the US has seen suggesting a recent shift in China’s posture but said US officials have been concerned enough that they shared the intelligence with allies and partners.