The U.S.House of Representatives recently passed the Axis Act, requiring the State Department to submit regular reports to Congress on China’s support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on April 27, 2022.
The tragic Russia-Ukraine conflict has been going on for more than two months. U.S. lawmakers from both parties have questioned China’s stance on this war because of China’s silence on the Russian incursion.
The report aims to address specific issues, including efforts to aid in evading sanctions or export controls, technology to support Russia’s military or intelligence capabilities, and Russia’s disinformation and propaganda actions.
According to the Chinese language media outlet Da Ji Yuan, the bill requires the U.S. government to determine how China supports Russia and whether it has undermined sanctions and export controls imposed on Russia.
Western sanctions against Russia will be ineffective if China doesn’t cooperate. It means that China is actually funding Russia’s war.
Some legislators believe that the connection between China and Russia puts the United States and the international order based on rules in jeopardy.
Congressman Andy Barr said, “We need a full report on the extent of the collaboration between Russia and China to inform the public and enable lawmakers to begin positioning the U.S. to overcome this geopolitical challenge.”
Meanwhile, according to Congressman Michael McCaul, China has proved unwilling or unable to act as a constructive partner in Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine. Michael refers to this relationship as “complicity.”
He added, “I commend Congressman Barr for introducing this important legislation that will help inform the American people of the extent of this unholy alliance.”
According to Reuters, Russia expects to bring trade with China to $200 billion in 2024.
However, the Chinese-language media reported that this trade between China and Russia was viewed as economic support for Russia.
The question is whether Western countries will sanction such action by China.
As Reuters reported, Georgiy Zinoviev, Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s first Asia department, acknowledged that Chinese companies could face repercussions if they aid Russia in evading sanctions.
He said, “It is clear that in the current situation, many Chinese economic operators have to exercise caution, given the likelihood of secondary sanctions.”
In March, Jake Sullivan, National Security Adviser, said that China would absolutely face the consequences if it helped Moscow evade sweeping sanctions over the war in Ukraine in a meeting with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi.
Therefore, the Chinese-language media said it would be hard for China to support Russia.
What changes will the “Axis Act” bring to U.S.-China relations?
In an interview with Chinese language media, Wu Jialong, a senior political and economic commentator, remarked on the changes the act would bring to the U.S.-China relationship.
According to Wu, the reason for the U.S. to reposition China and Russia’s alliance as the axis with a negative impact was their complicity, according to collected data and evidence. In addition, these two nations are undermining the rules-based international order supported by the United States and Western countries.
The “Axis Act” results from a bipartisan consensus that the U.S. must go through the process. Therefore, the U.S. has come forward to face the people, the media, think tanks, and academia to position the China-Russia alliance and educate and communicate with them.
If the Senate passes the bill, it will be submitted to the White House and signed into law by the President.