MUNICH (Reuters) -- U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday warned that Chinese support for Russia in its war in Ukraine would reward aggression, as the two powers traded barbs at a prominent security conference in Germany.
At the Munich Security Conference, Harris said the United States was "troubled that Beijing has deepened its relationship with Moscow since the war began."
"Any steps by China to provide lethal support to Russia would only reward aggression, continue the killing, and further undermine a rules-based order," she said.
China and Russia announced a "no limits" partnership shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago. Washington warned Beijing not to provide material support for the war effort or to help Moscow sidestep Western sanctions.
While China has avoided running afoul of those "red lines," they have maintained diplomatic ties and energy purchases from Russia in defiance of U.S. efforts to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin.
U.S.-Chinese relations have deteriorated over issues included the suspected Chinese spy balloon recently flown over the United States.
Harris' comments also included condemnation of Iran and North Korea aiding Russia's war.
China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, on Saturday used the same conference to criticize Washington for its response to the balloon incident, suggested European countries "think calmly" about how to end the Ukraine war, and added that there are "some forces that seemingly don't want negotiations to succeed, or for the war to end soon."
"There are so many balloons all over the world, and various countries have them, so is the United States going to shoot all of them down?" asked Wang. The balloon was shot down on President Joe Biden's orders off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4.
"We ask the U.S. to show its sincerity and correct its mistakes, face up and resolve this incident, which has damaged Sino-U.S. relations," he said.
Harris, meanwhile, said Putin's invasion of Ukraine could strengthen efforts by other "authoritarian" countries, a characterization the Biden administration often uses to describe China's political system.
"If Putin were to succeed with his attack on these fundamental principles, other nations could feel emboldened to follow his violent example," she said. "Other authoritarian powers could seek to bend the world to their will through coercion, disinformation and even brute force."
Washington has frequently criticized efforts by China to claim self-ruled Taiwan and the South China Sea.