US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the manner in which Kiev is resisting Moscow’s forces provide a valuable lesson for Taiwan, as they show how a smaller army can confront a larger one.
During a hearing before a Senate committee, Austin was asked about Taiwan’s defense strategies if China launched a military attack against it. He replied, “We learned a number of important lessons from the war in Ukraine (…) against Russia.”
“One of those lessons is that even with unequal capabilities, tactics, and technology, a smaller force can do a better job of defending itself against a larger force,” he added.
Thanks to the great support it received from an international coalition led by the United States, especially in terms of supplies of weapons, equipment and training, Ukraine not only prevented the Russian forces from occupying it, but also recovered part of the lands that Moscow’s forces seized in the early days of the invasion.
During the session, the US Secretary stressed to the committee members that the authorization given by Congress to the administration to withdraw weapons from US stockpiles and supply them to Taiwan, just as happened with Ukraine, is “critical in our efforts to provide Taiwan with what it needs” to defend itself.
“We are working on that initiative and we hope that there will be something to announce soon,” Austin said, without specifying what this initiative is and when exactly he intends to announce it.
Taiwan is at the center of competition between China, which considers the island an integral part of its territory, and the United States, which is Taipei’s first ally.
Early last month, China conducted war games simulating a blockade of Taiwan to put pressure, in protest against a meeting between Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, which Beijing considered provocative.
China hopes to restore Taiwan peacefully, but does not rule out the use of force to achieve this if necessary.
Taiwan lives in constant fear of being invaded by China. In recent years, Beijing has stepped up its rhetoric and military activity around the island.