McConnell: Ukraine’s Fight Fundamental To Deterring China
‘America’s Indo-Pacific partners are standing with the West against today’s authoritarian aggression. And our combined efforts are helping the entire free world prepare to meet tomorrow’s threats… Europe increasingly understands that NATO has global interests. That the world’s key theaters of competition are connected. And that the challenges we all face from China are not confined to Asia.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding national security:
“As I’ve discussed repeatedly, Vladimir Putin’s brutal escalation in Ukraine has prompted America’s European allies to take their commitments to collective defense more seriously.
“Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Russia’s authoritarian aggression has reinforced a reality our friends in the Indo-Pacific understand all too well.
“From communist China’s backyard, American partners in Japan, Taiwan, and elsewhere see the clear connection between Ukraine’s fight against Putin’s Russia and the threats they face closer to home. And they haven’t been shy in calling it out.
“Last year, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida said, ‘Ukraine might be East Asia tomorrow… We must show there are consequences to the attack’.
“The Japanese Defense Minister put it this way, ‘If the international community somehow allows or condones Russia’s aggression… it might send a wrong message that such actions can be tolerated in other parts of the world’.
“Last month, Taiwan’s ambassador delivered the same message. ‘Support for Ukraine is relevant to us because…it helps to deter. It imposes costs on the aggressor.’
“And Taiwan’s Deputy Foreign Minister was even more specific. He recently said support for Ukraine is, ‘the best way to deter China,’ and that Beijing is, ‘waiting to see’ whether the ‘Western democratic camp will be able to hold their position.’
“Mr. President, take it from our friends with the most to lose from Chinese aggression: Ukraine’s fight is not a distraction – it’s fundamental to deterring China.
“Of course, our friends in the Indo-Pacific aren’t just telling us – they’re showing us.
“Japan has committed more than $7 billion dollars to the Ukrainian cause, including drone technology, mine detection systems, support for critical infrastructure, and humanitarian aid.
“And Prime Minister Kishida made a special effort to travel to Kyiv in March.
“Taiwan has provided tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian relief to Ukraine, and the island’s businesses are stepping up to send life-saving technologies to the front lines.
“And let’s not forget the brave citizens of Taiwan who have literally volunteered for frontline service in Ukraine!
“Mr. President, America’s Indo-Pacific partners are standing with the West against today’s authoritarian aggression. And our combined efforts are helping the entire free world prepare to meet tomorrow’s threats.
“As Taiwan’s Foreign Minister pointed out today in Prague, we’re drawing critical lessons from Ukraine’s successful defense of its territory, allowing vulnerable partners to adjust training, procurement, and tactics accordingly.
“We’re investing in our own defense industrial capacity – here in America – to improve our ability to compete with China and to enhance deterrence. And importantly, America’s friends in Europe and the Indo-Pacific are forging closer ties with one another.
“Europe increasingly understands that NATO has global interests. That the world’s key theaters of competition are connected. And that the challenges we all face from China are not confined to Asia.
“Our European allies will be affected by instability or conflict in Asia as much as the United States – if not more so. So I’m encouraged by the way NATO is thinking about the scope of the challenges posed by the PRC’s aggression.
“In particular, I’m glad that NATO has invited our friends in Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to join the United States and our allies at the Vilnius Summit next month.
“China may have proxies and client states.
“But the United States and our allies are friends with shared interests.
“To paraphrase NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg: it’s better to have friends.”