A collateral consequence of the crisis in Ukraine is the cooling of economic ties between China and the United States. In a provoked meeting between Jack Sullivan, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, and Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, on March 14, 2022, in Rome, the only conclusion that filtered through was a White House statement that China faces consequences if it helps Moscow make up for losses due to Western sanctions or if China delivers weapons to Russia.
Every word in the statement was weighed and behind the word consequence, many commentators read retaliation. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the West has used most of the resources offered by the economic weapon against the regime of Vladimir Putin, such as the tracking of oligarchs, the embargo on certain supplies, the isolation of a number of banks or the freezing of foreign currency assets for example.
But the comparison between China and Russia in terms of the effectiveness of the economic weapon has its limits because if Russia is one of the first energy suppliers of the planet, its economic weight is not comparable to that of China whose GDP is 6 times higher than that of Russia, the first commercial partner and source of imports of the United States.