A senior European Union official told a separate briefing that it would be an “absolute red line” if China provided weapons to Russia, and the EU would respond with sanctions.
Germany has typically taken a much less hawkish stance than the US on China, its top trading partner, but Scholz also sent a strong warning to China on Thursday not to provide weapons to Moscow and appealed to Beijing to pressure Russia to pull back its forces, a speech noted and welcomed by US officials.
Biden hailed Scholz’s decision to sharply 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 was bracing for a new Russian offensive in coming weeks.
“As NATO allies, we’re making the alliance stronger,” Biden said, as the United States announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth US$400 million that includes ammunition and tactical bridges to move tanks and armored vehicles.
The EU official said one major trade irritant – a dispute over US subsidies for green technologies under the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that German and EU officials worry would disadvantage their companies – could soon be addressed.
The official said US and European officials were working on a high-level agreement that would make European minerals eligible for US tax credits, with an announcement possible as early as next Friday when European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visits 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 sharply higher energy prices due to the Ukraine war.