US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that the strong international support for Ukraine has likely impacted China’s thinking about Taiwan.
Blinken reiterated that the United States is determined to preserve peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and indicated that robust support to Ukraine would help rather than deter that goal.
His comments came in response to a question from CNN’s Kylie Atwood about a letter to Blinken from Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, who voiced “concern about reports that U.S. arms transfers to Ukraine are impeding our ability to prevent a war in Asia by supplying Taiwan with the weapons it needs to deter a Chinese invasion.”
Blinken said he couldn’t speak to the issue of weapons systems, but pushed back on the argument that Hawley put forward: “Taiwan is more important for U.S. national interests than Ukraine.”
Blinken said Beijing has seen “countries coming together in extraordinary ways to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself, to put tremendous pressure on Russia to ends its aggression, and as well, to make sure that, in the case of NATO, we’re strengthening our own capacity to defend ourselves in case that aggression were to spread.”
“And I think that has to have an impact on China’s thinking about the future and about what it may be looking at in terms of Taiwan,” he said.
Some context: Under the “One China” policy, the US acknowledges China’s position that Taiwan is part of China but has never officially recognized the Communist Party’s claim to the self-governing island of 23 million. The US provides Taiwan with defensive weapons but has remained intentionally ambiguous on whether it would intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese attack.