Biden, Scholz discuss Ukraine support, possible Chinese arms to Russia

  • Scholz is in Washington for talks with Biden
  • More support for Ukraine on the agenda
  • EU looks at possible deal to resolve green subsidy dispute

WASHINGTON, March 3 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz held talks on Friday focused on the war in Ukraine and shared concerns that China could be providing weapons to Russia as its invasion of Ukraine drags on for a second year. Used to be.

Biden, seated next to Scholz in the Oval Office, thanked the German leader for his “strong and steady leadership” and support for Ukraine. Scholz said it was important to demonstrate that allies would support Ukraine “as long as it is needed and for as long as it is needed.”

Biden applauded Scholz’s decision to 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 is preparing for a new Russian offensive in the coming weeks.

“As NATO allies, we are making the alliance stronger,” Biden said, as the United States announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth $400 million that included the transfer of tanks and armored vehicles. Ammunition for and tactical bridge are included.

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters just before the meeting that it would help the leaders discuss coordination on Ukraine and deepen their relationship.

Days after Scholz’s arrival, Biden’s security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said that Biden sent Abrams tanks to Ukraine in January only because Scholz made it a precondition for sending German Leopards.

Biden’s decision came against the advice of his military, Sullivan told ABC News. Berlin insisted that Biden had come to see that it was necessary and that the decision was therefore taken by consensus.

Scholz arrived in Washington due to consult with allies about imposing sanctions on China if Beijing provided Russia with military aid for its war in Ukraine, according to four US officials and other sources.

Neither Washington nor Berlin has evidence Beijing provided arms to Moscow, but US officials say they are closely monitoring the situation.

Jean-Pierre said, “We haven’t seen China do anything yet, as it pertains to lethal weapons.” “Every move China takes toward Russia makes it difficult for China to engage with Europe and other countries around the world.”

A senior EU official told a separate briefing that it would be an “absolute red line” if China provided arms to Russia and that the EU would respond with sanctions.

Germany has generally taken a far less aggressive approach toward its top trading partner China than the United States, but Scholz on Thursday urged China not to provide arms to Moscow and urged Beijing to pressure Russia to withdraw its troops. asked for, a speech the US welcomed. officers.

Last month, a delegation of US officials, including Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, attended an annual security gathering in Munich, where many praised Germany for its support of Ukraine, for its defense and foreign policy. change was needed.

Scholz and Biden were also expected to address a dispute over US subsidies for climate-friendly technologies under the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which German and EU officials worry will hurt their companies.

US and European officials were working on a high-level agreement that would make European minerals eligible for US tax credits, an EU official said, which could be announced as early as next Friday when the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will visit the White House.

Critics say the IRA was a slap in the face to Europe from its biggest ally at a time when Europe was already struggling with high energy prices due to the Ukraine war.

Reporting by Andreas Reinke, David Brunnstrom, Don Durfee, Andrea Shalal and Eric Beech; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Leslie Adler, Sharon Singleton and Josie Cao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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