A group of Ukrainian legislators announced a visit to Taiwan between October 25 and 27 to attend the 11th annual meeting of the World Movement for Democracy (WMD).
The impending visit was announced on Thursday by Taiwanese lawmaker Huang Shih-chieh, a member of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Huang made the announcement at the inauguration of the Taiwan-Ukraine Parliament Members Friendship Association, a mixed group of 15 Taiwanese and Ukrainian parliamentarians that was announced last month.
One of the Friendship Association members, current Ukrainian legislator and former deputy trade minister Yulia Klymenko, will be part of the group that visits Taiwan at the end of the month.
Huang’s declaration was reported by Focus Taiwan, which asked Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou to confirm the news. Ou said her ministry would “make an announcement at an appropriate time should any such visit be finalized.”
The World Movement for Democracy is a worldwide network seeking to combat “the deterioration in global freedoms and the emboldening of authoritarian regimes” over the past decade. Among other activities, the group sponsors a youth fellowship, offers legal advice to pro-democracy activists, and campaigns on behalf of political prisoners.
The October 25-27 assembly in Taiwan’s capital of Taipei is scheduled to include about 300 democracy activists and donors. Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and Ukrainian legislator Oleksandr Merezhko, creator of the Taiwan-Ukraine Parliament Members Friendship Association, are among the announced speakers at the event, although the WMD has not clarified whether Merezhko intends to appear virtually or in person.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a matter of keen interest to the Taiwanese, who have their own obnoxious militaristic authoritarian neighbor to worry about. Taiwanese National Security Bureau director Chen Ming-tong told Parliament on Wednesday that both Beijing and Taipei are carefully studying the war in Ukraine to develop strategies for a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
“This year, the communist military has borrowed from the experience of the Russia-Ukraine war to develop ‘hybrid warfare’ against Taiwan and strengthen its combat training and preparation against strong enemies,” Chen said.
Chen cited reports in August of Chinese drones buzzing over Taiwan’s outer islands and snapping photos of its light military garrisons were an example of the psychological component of “hybrid warfare.” The Taiwanese troops initially tried to fend off the drones by throwing rocks at them but were eventually authorized to start shooting them down.
“The Chinese communists have increased their cognitive warfare, gray zone activities, and other hybrid methods, which have constituted a new form of threat to national security,” Chen said, accusing China of copying and refining techniques used by Russia against Ukraine.
Writing at Asia Times on Friday, Yorktown Institute president and former U.S. Navy officer Seth Cropsey predicted Chinese dictator Xi Jinping will be tempted to make forcible “reunification” with Taiwan the capstone of his reign after securing a third term in power at the Communist Party Congress next week.
Cropsey warned Taiwan to take an important lesson from its study of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Taiwan simply will not have five or six months to mass forces, plan counterattacks, and receive military assistance from its allies as Ukraine did because it is so much smaller:
Taiwan’s geography does not speak to an extended defense akin to Ukraine’s campaign. Taiwan is small, its population concentrated. It lacks the strategic depth of Ukraine, a massive country with a land border with multiple NATO members.
It cannot utilize interior lines like Ukraine – its reserves will be vulnerable to Chinese fire throughout the country. And as it stands, it lacks the military equipment or civilian supplies of food, fuel, and medicine to survive a long-term war.
In the heat of combat, if the US commits to Taiwan’s defense, providing it with supplies will be a strain on an already overtaxed logistics system. Similarly, joint defense planning on the fly, as occurred in Ukraine, will not be possible.
Cropsey advised the U.S. and allied nations like Japan to absorb this lesson by centralizing and streamlining the delivery of military assistance to Taiwan, not just selling it more weapons.
“The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command should stand up a Taiwan assistance center, perhaps named a Taipei Military Coordination Command for political purposes,” he suggested. Beijing would probably be much more alarmed by such a creation than it was by the establishment of the Taiwan-Ukraine Parliament Members Friendship Association.