WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two months after warning that Beijing appeared poised to help Russia in its fight against Ukraine, senior U.S. officials say they have not detected overt Chinese military
and economic support, a welcome development in the tense U.S.-China relationship.U.S. officials told Reuters in recent days they remain wary about China's long-standing support for Russia in general,
but that the military and economic support that they worried about has not come to pass, at least for now. The relief comes at a pivotal time.President Joe Biden is preparing for a trip to Asia later
this month dominated by how to deal with the rise of China and his administration is soon to release his first national security strategy about the emergence of China as a great power.
As well as steering clear of directly backing Russia's war effort, China has avoided entering new contracts between its state oil refiners and Russia,despite steep discounts.
In March its state-run Sinopec Group suspended talks about a major petrochemical investment and a gas marketing venture in Russia.
Last month, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations hailed China's abstentions on U.N. votes to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a "win," underscoring how Beijing's enforced balancing act between
Russia and the West may be the best outcome for Washington.Still, China has refused to condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine and has criticized the sweeping Western sanctions on Moscow,
while saying it is not deliberately helping circumvent them.Trade volume between Russia and China also jumped in the first quarter, and the two declared a "no limits" partnership in February.
Biden is to visit Tokyo and Seoul in what will be his first trip to Asia as president - one that won't include a stop in China. He'll meet with Indian and Australian leaders too
U.S. officials remain concerned about China's refusal to condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine and what they say is its continued parroting of Russian disinformation over its intervention there.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on April 21 that Beijing had "repeatedly drawn false equivalencies between Russia's war of aggression and Ukraine's self-defensive actions."
She added: "Let's be clear, China's already doing things that do not help this situation."