American Military Strength And Continued Support For Ukraine Are Imperative To Deter ‘A New Axis Of Autocrats’ Centered On Beijing And Moscow

Leader McConnell: ‘We Must Not Ignore This Contest For Power.… Now, With Russia And China’s ‘Friendship Without Limits’ And Putin’s Embrace Of Iran And North Korea, Is Not The Time For America To Step Back…. Let’s Just Be Absolutely Clear About A Few Things: Helping Ukraine Retake Its Territory Means Weakening One Of America’s Biggest Strategic Adversaries Without Firing A Shot… And Deterring Another One In The Process.’

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Russia and China have both become more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad. Just before Russia’s escalation of its war against Ukraine, our two most significant revisionist adversaries announced a ‘friendship without limits’. And in the past year and a half, Putin has aligned Russia even more openly with rogue regimes hostile to the United States like Iran and North Korea. We must not ignore this contest for power.(Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/06/2023)

  • LEADER McCONNELL: “Now – with NATO unified and Europe awakened from its defense holiday and starting to spend real money on our collective defense – is not the time to go wobbly. Now, with Ukraine bravely defending its sovereignty and eroding Russia’s capacity to threaten NATO, is not the time to ease up. Now, with Russia and China’s ‘friendship without limits’ and Putin’s embrace of Iran and North Korea, is not the time for America to step back. Mr. President, I’ll have more to say on the conflict in Ukraine, how the President hasn’t been decisive enough, how our assistance is being used to good effect, and how additional appropriations are critical for our defense industrial base and competition with China. But for now, let’s just be absolutely clear about a few things: Helping Ukraine retake its territory means weakening one of America’s biggest strategic adversaries without firing a shot… and deterring another one in the process. It means investing directly in American strength – both military and economic. And our colleagues will have the opportunity to do all of this when we pass supplemental appropriations before the month is out.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/06/2023)

‘The Authoritarian Axis Will Get Stronger If Russia Defeats Ukraine’

A Free Russian Hand In Ukraine Would Make Asia Less Safe

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “A global axis of authoritarians is consolidating against the West, and what happens in Ukraine will reverberate far beyond Europe.” (Editorial, “Putin’s North Korea Rendezvous,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/05/2023)

  • “One reason the Japanese prime minister visited Kyiv this spring is because America’s allies in Asia understand that Ukraine isn’t a distant squabble. Russia has its own Pacific ambitions, including militarizing the Kuril Islands, some of which Japan also claims. A Russia that prevails in Ukraine will provoke elsewhere. Mr. Putin is also the junior partner to the neighborhood’s No. 1 threat: The Chinese Communist Party.” (Editorial, “Putin’s North Korea Rendezvous,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/05/2023)

The View From Taiwan: ‘Beijing Is Assessing The War Over A ‘Longer Time Span’ And Is Closely Watching If Divisions Emerge Among Western Nations Over Continued Military Support To Ukraine,’ ‘Defending Ukraine … Shows The Potential Support That We Will Receive From Our Democratic Allies In The Case Of A Chinese Military Invasion’

TAIWAN FOREIGN MINISTER JOSEPH WU: “We did not stop Russia from taking over Crimea, and the Russians were emboldened to go ahead and initiate a war against Ukraine, and the same kind of analogy can be drawn on the Indo-Pacific. We did not stop China from imposing national security law in Hong Kong and people were asking, ‘what is going to be the next - is Taiwan going to be the next?’” (“‘Don't Make The Same Mistake With Taiwan That You Made With Ukraine,’ Island's Foreign Minister Warns,” LBC, 4/20/2023)

TAIWAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER ROY CHUN LEE: “Until a final victory arrives, defending Ukraine against Russia has [direct] implications for Taiwan. In particular, it shows the potential support that we will receive from our democratic allies in the case of a Chinese military invasion.” (“China Sees Invasion Of Ukraine As ‘Test Case’ For Its Own Designs, Taiwan Warns,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 5/30/2023)

  • “Lee said Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been monitoring both Russia’s performance on the battlefield and the level of Western support for Ukraine as the war nears its 16th month of fighting. [A] senior Taiwanese diplomat added that Ukraine, backed by the West, has defended most of its territory from Russia, a move that he argued has had a deterring effect on China. But he added that Beijing is assessing the war over a ‘longer time span’ and is closely watching if divisions emerge among Western nations over continued military support to Ukraine and enforcing tough sanctions against Moscow.” (“China Sees Invasion Of Ukraine As ‘Test Case’ For Its Own Designs, Taiwan Warns,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 5/30/2023)

“Some analysts have compared Beijing’s views on Taiwan as comparable to Russia’s on Ukraine. … China did not oppose Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.” (“What Is China’s Relationship With Russia, And With Ukraine?” The Washington Post. 3/20/2023)

‘The Japanese Government … Fear[s] That A Russian Victory In Ukraine Could Embolden China In Their Region’

“While Xi Jinping was being received with great pomp and ceremony in Moscow [in March] Fumio Kishida was 500 miles away in Kyiv. The fact that the president of China and the prime minister of Japan paid simultaneous and competing visits to the capitals of Russia and Ukraine underlines the global significance of the Ukraine war. Japan and China are fierce rivals in east Asia. Both countries understand that their struggle will be profoundly affected by the outcome of the conflict in Europe.” (Gideon Rachman, “China, Japan And The Ukraine War,” Financial Times, 3/27/2023)

“A strong international response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine is critical to deterring China from embarking on territorial conquests in Taiwan or the South China Sea, said Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. ‘China has been carefully observing the current situation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and they are paying particularly close attention to what kind of reactions the international community has been taking,’ Kishi told The Post during an interview in Washington [in May]. The top Japanese defense official, speaking through an interpreter, said the global response will weigh heavily on Beijing and its ‘actions in the Asian region going forward.’ ‘If the international community somehow allows or condones Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, it might send a wrong message that such actions can be tolerated in other parts of the world, including the Indo-Pacific,’ Kishi said. ‘From that perspective, such actions of Russia cannot be tolerated.’” (“Confronting Russia Will Deter China, Says Japanese Defense Minister,” The Washington Post, 5/06/2022)

Announcing More Aid To Ukraine Following A Summer Visit, South Korea’s President Explained, ‘The War In Ukraine Has Reminded Us All That A Security Crisis In One Particular Region Can Have A Global Impact’

SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT YOON SUK YEOL: “The war against Ukraine is a violation of international law. It is an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo with force. Korea strongly condemns the unprovoked armed attack against Ukraine. When North Korea invaded us in 1950, democracies came running to help us. We fought together and kept our freedom. The rest is history. Korea’s experience shows us just how important it is for democracies to uphold solidarity. Korea will stand in solidarity with the free world. We will actively work to safeguard the freedom of the people of Ukraine and support their efforts in reconstruction.” (President Yoon Suk Yeol, Address To A Joint Session Of Congress, 4/28/2023)

“South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol made a surprise visit to Ukraine [in July], offering support for the invaded country in its war with Russia while demonstrating his own nation’s cooperation with NATO. Yoon’s office said he traveled to Ukraine with his wife, Kim Keon Hee, following trips to Lithuania for a NATO summit and to Poland. It’s his first visit since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.” (“South Korea To Expand Support For Ukraine As President Yoon Suk Yeol Makes A Surprise Visit,” The Associated Press, 7/15/2023)

“South Korea unveiled [in August] financial aid of 520 billion won ($394 million) for Ukraine next year, an eightfold increase from this year. The aid package includes 130 billion won for reconstruction, 260 billion in humanitarian aid and another 130 billion won through international organisations, according to South Korea's 2024 budget.” (“South Korea Increases Ukraine Aid To $394 Mln For 2024,” Reuters, 8/28/2023)

Building On Its ‘Friendship Without Limits,’ ‘Beijing Has Grown Increasingly Friendly With Moscow Over The Past Year’

Xi Jinping And Vladimir Putin Are Visiting Each Other’s Capitals As They Cement Their ‘Friendship Without Limits’

“Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement to expand their economic ties during a bilateral meeting in Moscow ... Xi is in Moscow for a multiday series of meetings with his Russian counterpart, aimed at demonstrating the two countries' new ‘friendship without limits.’ Xi and Putin emphasized the importance of jointly safeguarding their countries' energy security. Putin touted plans for a gas pipeline from Siberia to China ahead of the meeting, saying the agreement was all-but finalized.” (“Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping Sign Economic Deal In Latest Demonstration Of 'Friendship Without Limits,'” Fox News, 3/21/2023)

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to make his first foreign trip since a warrant for his arrest on alleged war crimes was issued by the International Criminal Court. The Kremlin is preparing Putin’s visit to China for the Belt and Road Forum in October, according to three people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the issue is sensitive. Putin has accepted the invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend the event, one of the people said.” (“Putin Agrees To Visit China In First Trip Since Arrest Warrant,” Bloomberg, 8/29/2023)

Russia And China ‘Have Continued Joint Exercises Throughout The War [In Ukraine], Including A Naval Patrol Off The Coast Of Alaska’

SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-AK): “The incursion by 11 Chinese and Russian warships operating together – off the coast of Alaska – is yet another reminder that we have entered a new era of authoritarian aggression led by the dictators in Beijing and Moscow.” (Sen. Dan Sullivan, Twitter, @SenDanSullivan, 8/05/2023)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: ‘Russia and China Sent Large Naval Patrol Near Alaska’ (The Wall Street Journal, 8/06/2023)

  • “The two countries’ militaries have continued joint exercises throughout the war, including a naval patrol off the coast of Alaska [in August].” (CNN, 8/12/2023)

“China and Russia have begun their joint naval and air drills in the Sea of Japan, Chinese state media CCTV reported on Thursday. The two sides will mainly focus on sea and air escorts, deterrence and repulsion, anchorage defence and other courses to carry out drills, CCTV reported. ‘The joint exercises will test the ability of the Chinese and Russian armies to integrate joint operations in distant waters,’ it added.” (“China, Russia Begin Joint Drills In Sea Of Japan, Chinese State Media Report,” Reuters, 7/20/2023)

‘Iran Is Expanding Its Military Partnership With Russia’ As Russian Forces Continue To Use Iranian Drones To Attack Ukraine

“In October, the U.S. said that Iranian personnel had been in Crimea training Russian pilots to use Iranian-made drones as Moscow attempts to maintain its hold on the territory in southern Ukraine.” (“Iran Expands Military Aid to Russia Amid War in Ukraine, U.S. Says,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/15/2023)

“Iran is expanding its military partnership with Russia and has already provided hundreds of drones to Russia to pursue its war in Ukraine…” (“Iran Expands Military Aid to Russia Amid War in Ukraine, U.S. Says,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/15/2023)

“…Iran wants additional military equipment from Russia including attack helicopters, radars, and Joachim 30 combat trainer aircraft. In total, Iran is seeking billions of dollars worth of military equipment from Russia…” (“Iran Expands Military Aid to Russia Amid War in Ukraine, U.S. Says,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/15/2023)

Russia Is Building A Domestic Manufacturing Plant To Produce Iranian Drones To Use Against Ukraine

THE WASHINGTON POST: ‘Inside The Russian Effort To Build 6,000 Attack Drones With Iran’s Help’ (The Washington Post, 8/17/2023)

“The engineers at a once-bustling industrial hub deep inside Russia were busy planning. The team had been secretly tasked with building a production line that would operate around-the-clock churning out self-detonating drones, weapons that President Vladimir Putin’s forces could use to bombard Ukrainian cities. … This was Russia’s billion-dollar weapons deal with Iran coming to life in November, 500 miles east of Moscow in the Tatarstan region. Its aim is to domestically build 6,000 drones by summer 2025 — enough to reverse the Russian army’s chronic shortages of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, on the front line.(“Inside The Russian Effort To Build 6,000 Attack Drones With Iran’s Help,” The Washington Post, 8/17/2023)

“Last summer, Russia began receiving secret shipments of Iranian drones — many of them Shaheds — that were quickly deployed to prop up its flagging war effort, U.S. and other Western officials have said.” (“Inside The Russian Effort To Build 6,000 Attack Drones With Iran’s Help,” The Washington Post, 8/17/2023)

North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un Is Set To Travel To Russia ‘To Discuss The Possibility Of Supplying Russia With More Weaponry For Its War In Ukraine’

“Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, plans to travel to Russia this month to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin to discuss the possibility of supplying Russia with more weaponry for its war in Ukraine and other military cooperation, according to American and allied officials.” (“Kim Jong-Un And Putin Plan To Meet In Russia To Discuss Weapons,” The New York Times, 9/4/2023)

“Mr. Putin wants Mr. Kim to agree to send Russia artillery shells and antitank missiles, and Mr. Kim would like Russia to provide North Korea with advanced technology for satellites and nuclear-powered submarines, the officials said. Mr. Kim is also seeking food aid for his impoverished nation.” (“Kim Jong-Un And Putin Plan To Meet In Russia To Discuss Weapons,” The New York Times, 9/4/2023)

“At other times since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials have released declassified intelligence to try to dissuade North Korea, China and other countries from supplying Russia with weapons. U.S. officials say White House warnings about planned transfers of North Korean artillery shells stopped previous cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow.” (“Kim Jong-Un And Putin Plan To Meet In Russia To Discuss Weapons,” The New York Times, 9/4/2023)

“In late August, a delegation of about 20 North Korean officials, including some who oversee security protocols for the leadership, traveled by train from Pyongyang to Vladivostok, and then flew to Moscow, an indication that North Korea was serious about a visit by Mr. Kim. Their trip, believed to be a planning expedition, took about 10 days, according to officials briefed on the intelligence reports.” (“Kim Jong-Un And Putin Plan To Meet In Russia To Discuss Weapons,” The New York Times, 9/4/2023)

“The idea for the Russia visit came out of a trip by Sergei K. Shoigu, the Russian defense minister, to North Korea in July for Mr. Kim’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of the ‘victory’ over South Korean and U.S. forces in the Korean War, officials said. (In reality, the three-year war halted in 1953 in a stalemate and armistice agreement, and the two Koreas are still officially at war.)” (“Kim Jong-Un And Putin Plan To Meet In Russia To Discuss Weapons,” The New York Times, 9/4/2023)

‘Russia Is Looking To Buy More Ammunition From North Korea To Replenish Its Dwindling Stockpiles’

“The United States first warned about cooperation between North Korea and Russia a year ago. Officials, citing declassified U.S. intelligence, said that Russia planned to buy artillery shells for use in Ukraine. In subsequent disclosures, Mr. Kirby said North Korea had shipped munitions to Russia through the Middle East and North Africa.” (“Kim Jong-Un And Putin Plan To Meet In Russia To Discuss Weapons,” The New York Times, 9/4/2023)

“Russia is looking to buy more ammunition from North Korea to replenish its dwindling stockpiles amid Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine, the U.S. said Thursday.” (“Russia Is Again Turning To North Korea To Replenish Ammunition Supplies,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/03/2023)

“Ammunition shortages have been a problem for both sides in the Ukraine war. President Biden last month warned that Ukraine was running out of ammunition. And Moscow has previously turned to Pyongyang for supplies, according to U.S. officials.” (“Russia Is Again Turning To North Korea To Replenish Ammunition Supplies,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/03/2023)

Russia, China, Iran, And North Korea All Share An Opposition To U.S. Power As Putin ‘Is Devoting Considerable Time And Energy To Fostering A New Axis Of Autocrats’

“Taking a page from the Western alliance-building playbook, Russian President Vladimir Putin is devoting considerable time and energy to fostering a new axis of autocrats that is bringing Moscow into ever tighter collaboration with China, North Korea and Iran. Western countries play down these developments at their own peril. A powerful anti-Western bloc of dictatorships is taking shape.” (“Putin Is Trying To Build A New Axis Of Autocrats,” The Washington Post, 9/08/2022)

‘The New Alignment Is Based Largely On Shared Opposition To U.S. Power’

“The new alignment is based largely on shared opposition to U.S. power.” (“What Is China’s Relationship With Russia, And With Ukraine?” The Washington Post. 3/20/2023)

  • However, China has continued to trade with Russia despite, the economic isolation enforced by the United States and its allies via sanctions and export controls. Russia has become increasingly reliant on oil exports to China, with record exports to the country in January, according to exports to data intelligence firm Kpler. Western officials have voiced concern about China potentially supplying arms to Russia.” (“What Is China’s Relationship With Russia, And With Ukraine?” The Washington Post. 3/20/2023)

“Beijing has not appeared to scale back ties with Russia.” (CNN, 8/12/2023)

THE WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL BOARD: “With President Xi Jinping’s high-profile three-day visit to Moscow this month, China has shown it is willing to play what might be called the Russia card to counter what Mr. Xi considers to be U.S. attempts to surround China and contain its economic and military rise.” (Editorial, “The U.S. Should Beware Of The Beijing-Moscow Axis,” The Washington Post, 3/25/2023)

Iran’s ‘Defense Cooperation With Russia Is Expanding Every Day’ And Will ‘Pose A Threat To Iran’s Neighbors’ In The Middle East

“The United States is seeing more indications that Russia and Iran are expanding an unprecedented defense partnership that will help Moscow prolong its war in Ukraine as well as pose a threat to Iran's neighbors…” (“US Sees More Indication Of Russia, Iran Defense Cooperation,” Reuters, 5/15/2023)

Russia's military cooperation with Iran will not succumb to geopolitical pressure, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, following a report that Washington has asked Teheran to stop selling drones to Moscow. ‘There are no changes, and cooperation with Iran will continue,’ Ryabkov said, according to a report on Saturday from Russian state news agency RIA. ‘We are independent states and do not succumb to the dictates of the United States and its satellites.’” (“Russia's Military Ties With Iran Will Withstand Geopolitical Pressure, RIA Reports,” Reuters, 8/26/2023)

The head of Iran’s ground forces, Kiumars Heidari, says defense cooperation with Russia is expanding every day as he wraps up a visit to Moscow. Russia and Iran have boosted defense ties since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, with Tehran supplying Moscow with drones.” (“Iran General Says Defense Cooperation With Russia Expanding Daily,” The Times Of Israel, 8/23/2023)

‘The Strengthening Of The Russia-North Korea Alliance Comes At An Opportune Time For Two Countries With Very Few Allies And A Shared Adversary In The United States’

“In June, Mr. Kim sent Mr. Putin a message on Russia’s national day in which he pledged to ‘hold hands’ with the Russian leader and promised that the Russian people would have North Korea’s ‘full support and solidarity’ for their ‘all-out struggle,’ according to the KCNA.” (“Kim Jong-Un And Putin Plan To Meet In Russia To Discuss Weapons,” The New York Times, 9/04/2023)

“… Seoul was concerned the Kim regime could be seeking nuclear-powered submarines and satellite technology from Russia, in addition to cooperation on conventional ammunition and missile technology.” (“As U.S. Warns North Korea Against Giving Russia Weapons For Ukraine, What Could Kim Jong Un Get In Return?” CBS News, 9/06/2023)

Russia Has Even Proposed Conducting Trilateral Naval Exercises With China And North Korea

“Russia proposed conducting three-way naval exercises with North Korea and China when Moscow's defense minister held a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in late July, South Korea's intelligence agency was quoted as saying Monday. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made the proposal when he held a one-on-one meeting with the North's leader, National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Kim Kyou-hyun said during a close-door briefing to the parliamentary intelligence committee, according to Rep. Yoo Sang-bum of the ruling People Power Party.” (“Russia Proposed Three-Way Naval Exercise With N. Korea, China: NIS,” Yonhap News Agency, 9/04/2023)


Related Issues: China, North Korea, Russia, Iran, Ukraine