Ukraine's defeat may threaten Taiwan, PM warns Atlantic Council

The prime minister spoke, among other things, about the relationship between the situation in Ukraine and Taiwan. Mateusz Morawiecki/Facebook

If Ukraine succumbs to Russia, China may feel encouraged to attack Taiwan, Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland's prime minister, told the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington D.C. on Thursday.

Morawiecki, who arrived in the US on Tuesday for security talks, said the situation in Ukraine could influence developments in China and Taiwan, and stressed that Ukraine had to be supported in its defence against Russia if Taiwan was to remain independent.

"You cannot protect Ukraine today and tomorrow be saying that Taiwan is not our concern. We need to support Ukraine if we want Taiwan to remain independent. If Ukraine is conquered, the next day China may attack Taiwan. I see a very big connection here, a lot of dependency between the situation in Ukraine and the situation in Taiwan and China," he said.

Morawiecki said China probably shared Russia's wish for Ukraine to be defeated, and to back this he cited Chinese leader Xi Jinping's recent declaration that "now there is one exceptional chance to change the global order created 100 years ago," during a meeting with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Morawiecki warned that Russia's war with Ukraine was in fact a war with the West, and that China probably supported this policy. He added that he was worried to see Jinping's support of Putin as relations between China and Russia were of crucial importance for the future of the world. He also voiced hope that Beijing will not "cross the red line" and start supplying Russia with arms.

Morawiecki added that if the Western world lost Ukraine, it would also lose peace for years. "Failure in Ukraine could be the beginning of the end of the golden age of the West," he admonished.

Morawiecki stressed that a Ukrainian victory would not only allow the country's reconstruction from war damage, but would further economic growth in Europe.

He noted that not all of the Western world was equally eager to see a Ukrainian victory over Russia, remarking that "the collective West... wants Ukraine to win. But not necessarily to the same extent."

Morawiecki recalled that some Western countries' leniency towards Moscow stemmed from years of commercial ties, mainly in energy. He called the West's energy cooperation with Russia "a huge mistake," and said it was the reason why some countries' stance towards the Russia-Ukraine conflict differed from that of the US or Poland.

The Polish prime minister highlighted that Poland had vast experience in relations with Russia. "Poland knows Russia all too well. We have been at war with Russia, actually, for centuries. We started our first serious war with Russia in 1492 when Columbus hit the soil of the New World, so we know exactly what to expect," he said.

According to him, a determined stance by Ukraine's allies was of key importance to its progress in the war against Russia, but he complained that while the US and Poland were prepared to aid Ukraine as much as possible, public opinion in Western Europe was becoming tired of the issue.

"This is what I fear. Poland and the US are determined to support Ukraine, but we need all the allies, their help and full involvement," Morawiecki said.

He added that both Poland and the US were supplying Ukraine with heavy military equipment like tanks and armoured vehicles, and announced further supplies of the Polish Air Force's Soviet-era MiG fighters to Ukraine.

Morawiecki stressed that Ukraine's stance in the conflict with Russia proved the country was part of the free world, and should therefore be offered a simple path to Nato membership. He added that the forthcoming Nato summit in Vilnius could be a good occasion to begin the process.

Morawiecki added that Poland saw itself as a crucial mainstay of European security. "(It is in this - PAP) context that Poland wants to become a bedrock of European security, because we share common security interests," he said.

According to him, Poland was "an indispensable link" in US-EU relations, and he stressed that today Europe needed Poland's strong ties with Washington "as never before." He added that Poland was one of the leaders in defence spending among the Nato states, with a defence budget reaching 4 percent of GDP.

Morawiecki added that Poland was of key importance in rebuilding relations between the US and the EU, and appealed for a "new Marshall Plan" for Ukraine.

Turning to energy issues, Morawiecki said energy cooperation with the US was crucial for Poland after it halted imports of fossil fuels from Russia. He added that a major US company, Westinghouse, was helping Poland in the introduction of nuclear power.