Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen on Wednesday urged China to persuade Russia to end its war in Ukraine and warned that staying away could jeopardize China’s position in the global economy.
She spoke amid growing frustration from the United States and its allies that China has refused to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Instead, the two countries cemented a “special relationship.” The United States watched with concern whether China would help Russia evade sanctions and stabilize its economy.
“Going forward, it will be increasingly difficult to separate economic issues from broader considerations of national interest, including national security,” Ms Yellen said in a speech to the Atlantic Council, a group of reflection. “The world’s attitude toward China and its willingness to embrace deeper economic integration may well be affected by China’s reaction to our call for resolute action against Russia.”
Ms Yellen added that Russia’s actions contradicted China’s long-standing public commitments to sovereignty and territorial integrity and called on China to use its influence with Russia to end the war.
Eswar Prasad, former International Monetary Fund China director, said the United States was trying to put China on the spot with Ms Yellen’s comments.
“The United States calls on the Chinese government to bluff trying to have it both ways, claiming to be a protector of the global governance system as it stands on the sidelines as that system is challenged by naked aggression from Russia to Ukraine,” said Mr. Prasad, a professor of international trade policy at Cornell University.
Yellen also said the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cast a shadow over the global economy after two years of pandemic disruption, but she insisted that the United States and their allies would continue to work together to confront Russia with debilitating sanctions.
“The war between Russia and Ukraine has reshaped the contours of global economic prospects,” Ms Yellen said.
She spoke ahead of the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund next week, when finance ministers from around the world meet in Washington. After two years of shutdowns and supply chain disruptions, these officials are now engrossed in coordinating sanctions in an effort to cripple the Russian economy while helping their own country deal with soaring inflation. .
In her speech, Ms. Yellen singled out countries, such as China and India, that have continued to engage with Russia despite the global backlash against the atrocities it committed in Ukraine.
The Russian-Ukrainian War and the World Economy
“Let me now say a few words to the countries that are currently sitting on the fence, perhaps seeing an opportunity to be gained by preserving their relationship with Russia and filling the void left by others,” Ms Yellen said. . “Such motivations are short-sighted.”
“And let’s be clear: the unified coalition of sanctioning countries will not be indifferent to actions that undermine the sanctions we have put in place,” she continued.
The United States and its allies in Europe and Asia have imposed sanctions on Russia’s central bank, its key financial institutions, and its military supply chain. There is growing pressure to impose sanctions on the Russian energy industry, and some have argued that the United States must consider “secondary sanctions” against countries that do not comply with the restrictions that the Biden administration has imposed. to transactions.
Referring to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, Ms. Yellen asserted that the United States had no intention of relenting in its efforts to strangle the Russian economy, saying: “Rest assured, until that Putin ends his odious war of choice, the Bidens will work with our partners to push Russia further into economic, financial and strategic isolation.