A report in The New York Times on Friday says the Biden administration, for months, handed over intelligence about Russia to the Chinese, who in turn gave it to Moscow.
“Over three months, senior Biden administration officials held half a dozen urgent meetings with top Chinese officials in which the Americans presented intelligence showing Russia’s troop buildup around Ukraine and beseeched the Chinese to tell Russia not to invade,” The New York Times reported.
“Each time, the Chinese officials, including the foreign minister and the ambassador to the United States, rebuffed the Americans, saying they did not think an invasion was in the works. After one diplomatic exchange in December, U.S. officials got intelligence showing Beijing had shared the information with Moscow, telling the Russians that the United States was trying to sow discord — and that China would not try to impede Russian plans and actions,” the paper added.
The report comes after tens of thousands of Russian soldiers invaded Ukraine on Thursday, launching air, ground, and missile assaults on military and other targets.
Meetings in which the Biden administration handed over intelligence to Beijing began after Biden held a video summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in mid-November.
The Times report continued:
After the meeting, American officials decided that the Russian troop buildup around Ukraine presented the most immediate problem that China and the United States could try to defuse together. Some officials thought the outcome of the video summit indicated there was potential for an improvement in U.S.-China relations.
Others were more skeptical, but thought it was important to leave no stone unturned in efforts to prevent Russia from attacking, one official said.
Days later, White House officials met with the ambassador, Qin Gang, at the Chinese Embassy. They told the ambassador what U.S. intelligence agencies had detected: a gradual encirclement of Ukraine by Russian forces, including armored units.
William J. Burns, the C.I.A. director, had flown to Moscow on Nov. 2 to confront the Russians with the same information, and on Nov. 17, American intelligence officials shared their findings with NATO.
The paper said that administration officials also informed China about the allegedly tough sanctions the White House would impose on Russia and how they would impact China negatively because of Beijing’s close ties with Moscow. They also said that China’s global image would be harmed.
But their desperate efforts “went nowhere” and Qin was reportedly “skeptical and suspicious,” the Times noted.