Ukraine war providing lessons for Taiwan: Lloyd Austin

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Ukraine’s war against invading Russian forces is providing lessons for Taiwan, showing how a smaller military can successfully defend against a larger one, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Tuesday.

“We’ve learned a number of important lessons from Ukraine’s... war with Russia,” Austin told a Senate hearing when asked about strategies to defend Taiwan against potential military action by China.

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“One of those lessons is that with asymmetric capabilities and asymmetric tactics and techniques, a smaller force can do a really good job in defending themselves against a larger force,” he said.

With international backing in the form of weapons, supplies and training, Ukrainian forces have not only kept Russian troops from overrunning the country, but have also regained ground seized by Moscow.

Austin also told lawmakers that the congressionally authorized authority to draw weapons from US stocks and provide them to Taiwan -- as has been done with Ukraine -- is “critical in our efforts to provide Taiwan what it needs” to defend itself.

“We are working on that initiative and we hope to have an action forthcoming here in the near term,” he said, without providing a specific date.

China views democratic, self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory to be retaken one day, by force if necessary. The island lives under the 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 soared last year after China staged massive military exercises around the island in response to then-US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Last month, Beijing conducted war games simulating a blockade of the island in protest against a meeting between Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen and Pelosi’s successor Kevin McCarthy in California.

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