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Why UT Professors Are Eyeing China During the Conflict With Russia

AUSTIN (KXAN) — All eyes are on eastern Europe after Russia officially launched an assault of Ukraine, but University of Texas government professors say what happens in this conflict could also greatly impact the United State’s future with China.

Dr. Patrick McDonald and Dr. Robert Moser, government professors at UT, say what Russia’s doing right now is challenging the foundation of international legal practices and forcing the United States to define its role in international affairs after the Cold War.

Why does the US care so much about Ukraine? UT experts break down the conflict with Russia

That’s something China is going to take cues from.

“China — in particular, as a rising power — is going to also use its power to increase its influence in its region, and perhaps use force if necessary, to incorporate neighboring countries right now, like Taiwan, into its fold,” Moser said.

The Biden administration could be dealing with that sooner rather than later.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said shortly after Russia started its attack on Ukraine, at least nine Chinese aircraft flew over the northeast part of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands, Reuters reported. Taiwanese fighters were deployed in response.

It’s something the administration clearly has its eyes on already. In December, a U.S. defense official said there was an “urgent” need to enhance defenses in Taiwan as the threat of China annexing the country was “real and dangerous.”

Meanwhile, Chinese officials have responded to rising concern about the impact of the Ukraine situation on Taiwan that the context is different.

A quick history lesson that will help you understand what’s going on in Ukraine

“Taiwan has always been an inalienable part of China. This is an indisputable legal and historical fact,” Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokesperson, said from Beijing.

Regardless, the stance the United States takes in helping defend Ukraine against Russia is something that could impact the country’s role in foreign policy for decades to come.

“The United States and the Biden administration is trying to navigate and to, quite obviously, stall or halt to maintain the current status quo,” Moser explained.

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