WASHINGTON. Ukraine’s war against invading Russian forces is teaching Taiwan a lesson, showing how a smaller military can successfully defend against a larger one, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday (May 16th).
“We learned a number of important lessons from Ukraine’s war with … Russia,” Austin told a Senate hearing when asked about strategies to protect Taiwan from possible military action by China.
“One of those lessons is that a smaller force with asymmetric capabilities and asymmetric tactics and techniques can do a really good job of defending against a larger force,” he said.
With international support in the form of weapons, supplies and training, Ukrainian forces have not only deterred Russian troops from invading the country, but have also retaken territory captured by Moscow.
Austin also told lawmakers that the power authorized by Congress to remove weapons from the U.S. stockpile and provide them to Taiwan, as was done with Ukraine, “is critical to providing Taiwan with what it needs” to defend itself.
“We are working on that initiative and we hope that we will have an action in the near future,” he said, without specifying a specific date.
China views democratic, self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory to be taken back one day, by force if necessary. The island lives under constant fear of a Chinese invasion, and Beijing has stepped up its rhetoric and military activity around it in recent years.
Tensions between Taipei and Beijing rose last year after China conducted massive military exercises around the island in response to a visit to Taiwan by then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Last month, Beijing staged war games simulating a blockade of the island to protest a meeting in California between Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen and Pelosi’s successor, Kevin McCarthy.