russia’s war aggression against Ukraine continues in its 10th year. The geopolitical significance and importance of Ukraine’s victory are very acutely felt in Northeast Asia, where democratic nations such as Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea are surrounded by a ring of authoritarian regimes.
It is extremely crucial for Ukraine to unite those who are fighting against authoritarianism, those with whom we share common challenges. For this purpose, in October last year, ICUV experts made an advocacy visit to Taiwan. This was a significant step in establishing close ties, discussing parallels between russian and Chinese expansion and the experience of resistance to a powerful invader.
And now, to develop this cooperation, ICUV organized the first roundtable discussion on the current tensions between China and Taiwan, and how Ukraine’s victory could affect the geopolitical situation in Asia.
The event took place on April 21, in Kyiv, and brought together about 40 diplomats, Ukrainian MPs, civil society activists, analysts, international donor funds representatives, and journalists from Ukraine, Taiwan, Japan, the UK, the US, and European countries.
The main topics were the risks of a Chinese attack on Taiwan, the impact of russia’s war on the world, and the threat of authoritarian regimes’ victory for the entire democratic world.
“I think it’s key to mention why victory in Ukraine is a common victory of democracy, and why defeating russia in Ukraine is so influential to deter Chinese global ambitions of dominance”.— opened the discussion, ICUV co-founder Hanna Hopko.
One of the leading topics of the roundtable was the impact of russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as China’s threats to monopolize the Taiwan Strait on world economics and food security, and the energy sector.
“russia’s weaponization of energy and food has triggered an unprecedented energy and food crisis across Europe and beyond. This has led to inflation and food shortage around the globe. Not only Europe, but indeed the whole world has been shaken by the invasion. The impact of the war has extended far beyond the border of russia and Ukraine. Without a doubt, we are seeing a rising struggle between democracy and autocracy. If Ukraine losses, it will be a serious flow to the global order based on democratic values”— said Dr. Roy Chun Lee, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China, Taiwan.
Due to Dr. Roy Chun Lee, if russia will not be stopped now, the entire of Europe will be at risk, and if we do not push back against China’s expansionism its far-reaching ambition will not stop by Taiwan.
“All our dictatorship clubs will think twice about the invasion of the neighboring countries, blackmailing by a nuclear weapon, the weaponizing food, energy, and other resources, common resources for our world”.— stressed Yulia Klymenko, First Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Parliament Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
According to Mrs. Klymenko China is using the same method as russia, biting off other countries’ territories, just as it has been doing in Ukraine since 2014, and the world must react to this.
“When those dictators think they can defeat the others so fast, when they think that democracies won’t stand together, won’t work together to defend those countries, who are under invasion. Then they dare to launch a full-scale invasion. So make the message clear. We stand together”,— noticed a Member of the Taiwanese parliament and Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defence Committee, Wang Ting-Yu.
He assured that Ukraine has the full support of the Taiwanese people, and Taiwan will help Ukrainians in any way it can until we win.
“Ukraine’s victory, from my point of view, here is one of the elements of the successful deterrence of China. So if Ukraine achieves its victory on the battlefield, China would understand that there is no way to occupy another country. So that everything will be so, every violation of international law will be punished, and then small countries could protect themselves together with their lives”.— remarked research, Head of the Asia-Pacific Section at the Center for Army Conversion and Disarmament Studies, Yurii Poita.
The participants also talked about the importance of sanctions against the aggressors and how economic instruments can change the game.
“Why do we still continue to feed russians, the russian economy, why do we give less weapons to Ukraine? So Why are we still buying oil from russia through different proxies like India and countries which are processing that oil and bringing it to Europe? More giving more money to these resources to the russian economy, while we give less weapons to Ukraine. We will never stop this conflict. And if we do not stop this conflict, we will encourage China to go to Taiwan. And trust me that this is very possible to happen”.– shared his thoughts Pavel Popescu, a member of the Romanian Defense Committee.
An extremely important idea was voiced at the event, that confiscation of frozen russian assets and the transfer of these funds to Ukraine would give Ukrainians a significant advantage in winning this war.
“As of right now, $500 billion of russian money are being frozen in democratic countries. They consist of $350 billion of russian state assets and $150 billion of russian oligarch money. And they are frozen. And as russians said, what is frozen can be unfrozen. Well, no. We are saying no. That this money is and has to be used for the sake of Ukraine, not in five years, not in 10 years, but right now, to show China and all the other countries that democracy means business. And that once you start the aggression against the other country, against all the international laws, you will lose whatever you store in the countries that have the rule of law working”— added Kira Rudik, Ukrainian MP.
Dr. Benjamin L. Schmitt, Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and former European Energy Security Advisor at the U.S. Department of State, pointed out the essential need to strengthen, monitor, and enforce economic sanctions against the russian Federation, in addition to providing Ukraine the advanced weapons systems that it needs to rapidly win. He spoke about the need to, in particular, focus on broader energy sanctions against russia, given the significant role energy revenues play in funding the Kremlin war machine, as well as a continued focus on energy security and the protection of critical energy infrastructure in Ukraine (and across Europe more broadly) given Moscow’s continued weaponization of energy across the continent.
“It’s absolutely vital to look at energy security in Ukraine and what we are seeing right now in terms of the Western response to russia’s broader weaponization of energy on the continent. It’s certainly encouraging to see the progress that has been made at building European energy resiliency, and Ukraine can certainly provide a lot of lessons learned, in particular on the topic of the protection of critical energy infrastructure given its experiences against russian kinetic strikes and rapid rebuilding of energy infrastructure over the past 18 months. These preparatory steps toward energy diversification and resiliency are also important frameworks through which future global economic and supply chain security can be planned. This is because when it comes to China and any potential future conflict scenario against Taiwan, we should be doing as much as we can to build more diversified global supply chains and economic trade relationships. However, the biggest thing that we can do right now is to support Ukraine to the greatest extent possible – both in terms of supplying the weapons Ukraine needs to win like F-16 fighter jets and ATACAMs long-range missiles – so that Kyiv can restore its sovereignty within its entire internationally-recognized borders, including Crimea of course. Likewise, deploying tougher sanctions regimes against the Kremlin including in the energy sector, is vital. Both defense and sanctions support to Ukraine can be strong deterrents that may provide an example to make Beijing think twice about launching any future act of aggression against Taiwan, which would be destabilizing to both regional and global security.”— he said.
Jakub Janda, Director of the European Values Center for Security Policy, said that Ukraine and Taiwan have a large field for exchanging experience. Especially in the field of civilian security, and technology, as well as the experience of economic and energy resistance during the war.
“That’s exactly what Taiwan needs as understanding because it’s very practical, and it’s a horrible test case in which Ukraine goes forward. The second part, which I would say, is what Ukraine needs or could get from Taiwan in the future, obviously the weapons in general. More specifically, Taiwan is very good and very rich in a military sense in the area of drones, UAVs, and also counter-drone warfare”,— emphasized Mr. Janda.
Another issue raised at the meeting was the influence of the russian imperialism. After all, the war in Ukraine is a continuation of a line that russia has been pursuing for centuries.
“We are dealing with an empire, and it’s been an empire since 1991, since the day the russian Federation took shape and inherited. Soviet imperialism had inherited russian imperialism, and there’s been a systematic failure in the West from the get-go to understand what the true nature of the russian so-called Federation was. And as a result of that, we’ve had two wars in Chechnya. We’ve had umpteen political prisoners, we’ve had assassinations, we’ve had all sorts of horrible events in previous years. And now we have 100,000, maybe 200,000 people dead, and it’s still not over”,— shared his thoughts on the historical background Edward Lucas, Senior Advisor (CEPA), journalist, and security expert.
Edward Lucas considered that the West should wake up, understand what we are dealing with, get out of its comfort zone, and appreciate the scope of the threat. And then – do what we actually need to do to defeat it, chiefly by helping Ukraine and Taiwan, but also by acting together.
“Because it’s not just important to defeat russia and the battlefield in Ukraine, it’s also to start thinking about the deimperialization of the russian Federation. Because this fight is for centuries. Remember how Peter first renamed Moscovia, stealing the name of Rus. Then during the Soviet time, Stalin also committed genocide. Man-made genocide through the Holodomor. And now it’s another genocide which is conducted by the current russian regime”.— summarized the discussion, Hanna Hopko.
The Ukraine-Taiwan roundtable discussion was organized by ICUV as part of its project implemented under the USAID/ENGAGE activity, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Pact. The contents of this discussion are the sole responsibility of Pact and its implementing partners and do not necessary reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.