China bolsters Russian defense as NATO warns: 'Today Ukraine, tomorrow it could be Taiwan'
In a joint conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Stoltenberg advocated for continued support to Ukraine. He warned that Russia's success will have international implications and possibly embolden China. He anticipated Sweden's entry into the Alliance would be finalized by the end of February.
"Our support is an investment in our own security. We know Beijing is keeping a close eye on this situation. We're seeing how China and Russia are aligning themselves more closely, and how China is bolstering the Russian economy, particularly in defense production," Stoltenberg explained.
One day Ukraine, the next could be Taiwan
During his meeting with the US Secretary of State, the Norwegian expressed his condolences over the Iranian militia's assault on a US base in Jordan. The attack resulted in three fatalities and injured 40. He added that this incident, along with the Huti movement's attacks on the Red Sea, are examples of what the world could look like if Russia prevails and the existing international order is disrupted.
"A victory for Russia could stimulate actions from Iran, North Korea, and China, and that matters for Europe's safety. It also affects America's wellbeing. Therefore, supporting Ukraine serves our interests at a fraction of defense expenditure," Stoltenberg argued, adding, "Today, the focus is Ukraine; tomorrow, it could potentially be Taiwan."
While discussing the possibility of Sweden joining NATO and concerns about Hungary stalling the accession process, the NATO chief confirmed that after talking to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, he expects the Hungarian parliament will approve the accession protocols by February's end.
Stoltenberg and Blinken also spoke about the upcoming planned NATO summit in Washington to commemorate the Alliance's 75th anniversary in July. As per Blinken, the summit will be "the most ambitious since the Cold War's conclusion and will highlight NATO's evolution in the face of new challenges and threats from Russia, China, and in the realm of cybersecurity."
Earlier, the Norwegian also had a meeting with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan at the White House. There are plans for another meetup over dinner and talks with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, about the necessary funds to keep supporting Ukraine are set for Tuesday at the Capitol.
Recently, Johnson warned that the funding package orchestrated by both parties in the Senate, combining more than $60 billion in aid for Ukraine with immigration limitations, has slim chances of passing in the House. However, despite this, Stoltenberg remains confident that Congress will approve measures for Ukraine, as it aligns with USA's interests.