Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on fellow world leaders on Saturday to take “preemptive measures” to help Taiwan before a potential Chinese invasion.
During a virtual address to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue summit on Saturday, Zelenskyy discussed the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. After he concluded his remarks, Zelenskyy took questions from journalists. CNN foreign policy columnist Josh Rogin noted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who said “Ukraine today could be east Asia tomorrow,” referring to a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
“How do you recommend that Taiwan stand strong as China seeks to impose its control over free people, by force if necessary?” Rogin asked.
Zelenskyy responded, “Today’s example of Ukraine is the example for the whole world.”
“The world must always support any action which is related to preemptive measures to forestall violence, to forestall war,” Zelenskyy added. “Because there is no positive aspect coming from wars, no one benefits from it apart from certain political leaders who are not content with the present level of their ambitions therefore they keep growing their appetites their ambitions and thus the world enables these leaders to grow their appetite.”
“We need a diplomatic resolution to support countries that are in need of help,” Zelenskyy added. “We must not leave them behind at the mercy of another country which is more powerful in financial terms, in territorial terms and in terms of equipment.”
Zelenskyy said that unlike Ukraine, where much of the military aid it has received has come after Russian forces invaded, countries must find ways to prevent hostilities before they break out in the first place.
“If there is a way out diplomatically we need to use the diplomatic way,” Zelenskyy said. “But it must be a preemptive way, not the one that comes after the war has started, after hostilities have broken out, after we have hundreds of thousands or even millions of casualties.”
While Taiwan governs itself as an independent nation, China considers the island as part of its territory, and Chinese leaders have increasingly called for “reunification” with the island by force if necessary.
Zelenskyy’s remarks aren’t the first time world leaders have drawn parallels between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Russia and China have grown closer together as Russia has faced economic sanctions for the invasion. China has avoided referring to the Russian action in Ukraine as an invasion and has provided its media channels with instructions to avoid criticizing Russia’s actions.
The day after Zelenskyy’s remarks at the Shangri-La security summit, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe told the summit that China’s reunification with Taiwan is inevitable and China will not hesitate to fight a costly war if Taiwan asserted its independence from China any further.
“Let me make this clear: if anyone dares to secede Taiwan from China, we will not hesitate to fight,” Wei said. “We will fight at all costs and we will fight to the very end.”