A successful, united war effort in Ukraine—led by the United States and NATO—would make Beijing think twice about invading Taiwan, the island’s de-facto ambassador to the U.S., said.
Bi-khim Hsiao, the envoy, told reporters that he believes pushing back against Russia would “help to deter any consideration or miscalculation that an invasion can be conducted unpunished, without costs, in a rapid way.”
He continued, “That is why Ukraine’s success in defending against aggression is so important also for Taiwan.”
The New York Times noted that Hsiao’s comments came after a handful of Republicans said the priority should be arming Taipei instead of focusing mainly on weapons for Kyiv. These Republicans, led by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., have said weapons like Patriot missiles and Stingers would better serve Taiwan and help the U.S. counter the bigger prize: China.
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported extensively on how the U.S. aims to counter China in its own hemisphere by attempting to turn Taiwan into a “porcupine” and help other willing nations in the region arm themselves against Big Bad China. (See “U.S. WANTS TO TURN TAIWAN INTO A PORCUPINE ON STEROIDS” 23 May 2023, “CHINA: INTERFERE ON TAIWAN AND FACE ‘DANGEROUS’ OUTCOMES” 25 Apr 2023, “U.S. CONTINUES TO INSTIGATE CHINA AFTER WELCOMING TAIWANESE PRESIDENT” 4 Apr 2023, and “WWIII: U.S. QUADRUPLES TROOPS IN TAIWAN IN PREPARATION FOR WAR WITH CHINA” 28 Feb 2023.)
Hawley sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken last December that made the case for the U.S. to focus more on Taiwan’s military needs rather than depleting its stockpiles for Ukraine.
“Taiwan is more important for U.S. national interest than Ukraine,” he wrote at the time. “Seizing Taiwan is Beijing’s next step toward dominating the Indo-Pacific region. If Beijing succeeds, it would have dire ramifications for Americans’ national security, as well as our economic security and freedom of action.”
Hawley said if both Ukraine and Taiwan need military aid, the U.S. should make Taipei the priority.
Taipei Learning from Ukraine
Hsiao has previously said that Taiwan is learning a lot on how to respond to any invasion by watching Ukraine’s resistance against the larger aggressor in Russia. She said it is the island’s hope not to use military force against Beijing, but “we have to be better prepared.”
TRENDPOST: The U.S. maintains a vague policy on how it would respond to a Chinese invasion of the island, and President Joe Biden has stumbled on several occasions when he said outright that the U.S. would come to Taipei’s aid militarily. (See “BIDEN DOUBLES DOWN ON HIS PLEDGE THAT U.S. WILL DEFEND TAIWAN IF CHINA INVADES,” 31 May 2022.)
The White House clarified that there has been no change in policy and insisted that the U.S. remains guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979. The AP noted that Taiwan separated from mainland China during a civil war in 1949, but it’s still claimed by Beijing.
China is also watching Ukraine with great interest and—while calling for a peaceful settlement—does not want a poor outcome for Moscow, according to Western analysts.
Roy Chun Lee, the Taiwanese deputy foreign minister, told RFE/RL last month that Beijing looks at Ukraine as a “test case” for its approach to the island.
“Until a final victory arrives, defending Ukraine against Russia has implications for Taiwan,” he said. “In particular, it shows the potential support that we will receive from our democratic allies in the case of a Chinese military invasion.”
Lee said he believes China is watching Ukraine with a long lens.
“I think China is waiting to see what happens two years from now, and three years from now, and if the Western democratic camp will be able to hold their position,” he said.