China threatened the United States this weekend over the prospects of Ukraine joining NATO, warning the move would fan the "flames of war" and potentially lead to a nuclear crisis.
The comments were made with a degree of separation in a Sunday piece published by the Global Times editorial board, a state-run newspaper operated by the Chinese Communist Party.
"If a war breaks out between Russia and NATO, the latter may soon take in countries that could fight Russia on the frontline," the Times wrote.
"This is a scenario with very little chance of occurring," the board continued. "But once it does take place, all European countries will tremble under the shadow of a possible nuclear war. In that case, there will be no security for anyone, not for Ukraine, and not for the world."
The paper further alleged that the U.S. and its Western allies have been "fanning the flames of war" instead of seeking a peaceful resolution to end the Ukraine conflict.
China expert David O. Shullman of the Atlantic Council told Newsweek that the Global Times' statement is less of a call for the Kremlin's deadly invasion to end and more of a strategy to blame the U.S. and NATO for consistently stoking it.
"Unfortunately, we should expect no significant effort from Xi Jinping to use China's supposed leverage with Russia to encourage a more responsible tack from Russia," Shullman stated, adding that China still does want the war to wrap up sooner than later.
The Communist Party's position comes a week after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions.
Putin's move led to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy unveiling that he would file an accelerated request for his country to join NATO — a red line that Russia has warned could lead to severe consequences.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has indicated hesitation in allowing Ukraine into NATO at this time. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday that membership should be taken up "at a different time" as fears of escalation grow.
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