ABOVE: Former Deputy National Security Advisor under President Trump, Victoria Coates tells "The 700 Club" that America's lack of opposition to Russia could fuel China to take Taiwan, and that would have dire consequences for the U.S. and the world.
In the immediate aftermath of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday, China's foreign ministry made an announcement. The communist regime declared to the world that it claims Taiwan to be a part of China.
The claim is similar to the excuse being used by Vladimir Putin as a pretext to invade and violently take territory away from his neighbor.
Taiwan scrambled fighter jets Thursday as nine Chinese aircraft entered the island nation's air defense zone, according to Fox News. Eight J-16 fighters and a Yun-8 technical reconnaissance aircraft encroached upon Taiwan air space. The Taiwan fighters broadcast a warning to the Chinese aircraft and supervised their actions.
Last week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had warned about Taiwan and the worldwide consequences if Western nations failed to support Ukraine. In response, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China has even more of a right to possess Taiwan than Russia has to possess Ukraine. "Taiwan is not Ukraine. Taiwan has always been an inalienable part of China. This is an indisputable legal and historical fact," Hua said, according to Reuters.
— The Hill (@thehill) February 24, 2022
U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) responded in a tweet saying, "And there it is: it didn't take long for Beijing to announce Taiwan 'is not Ukraine' but an 'inalienable part of China.'"
And there it is: it didn't take long for Beijing to announce Taiwan 'is not Ukraine' but an 'inalienable part of China.'
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) February 24, 2022
Other conservative commentators like Ben Shapiro speculated that China could soon move toward taking over Taiwan next, emboldened by the lack of effort from the U.S. and other western powers to stop Russia from seizing an entire country.
"2020: China takes Hong Kong. The West does nothing. 2021: The Taliban are handed Afghanistan by the West. 2022: Russia takes Ukraine. The West is in retreat. And everyone with half a brain knows that Taiwan is next on the menu," Shapiro tweeted.
2020: China takes Hong Kong. The West does nothing.
2021: The Taliban are handed Afghanistan by the West.
2022: Russia takes Ukraine.
The West is in retreat.
And everyone with half a brain knows that Taiwan is next on the menu.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 24, 2022
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) said the Biden administration has signaled weakness to the world, and that spells bad news for freedom everywhere.
"Regrettably, President Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan—and abandonment of fellow Americans and U.S. allies behind enemy lines—likely empowered Putin and other brutal dictators by sending the message to all of America’s enemies that they could pursue such aggression without significant pushback from the Biden Administration," Smith said.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told Fox News that, just like Putin watched what happened in Afghanistan, China is now keeping a close eye on America's every move in the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
Former President Donald Trump had also predicted earlier this week that China could invade Taiwan as a result of American weakness.
"By the way, China's going to be next," Trump said during an interview Tuesday on iHeart.com's "The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show." Trump compared Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin to "twin sisters."
Trump told the podcast China was waiting until after the Olympics. "Now that the Olympics are over, look at your stopwatch, right? No, (Xi) wants that, too. It's almost like twin sisters right here – because you have one that wants Taiwan, I think equally badly," he said.
Trump also said he thinks Russia's tyrannical ruler sees his attack against Ukraine as an "opportunity."
In a tweet, Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, wrote: "Russian barbarism knows no end. The West must learn that when tyrants make threats, they're serious. When Russia says it will attack Ukraine, when China says it will attack Taiwan, when jihadist Iran says it will attack Israel, we must believe them. Tyrants only respect strength."
Russian barbarism knows no end. The West must learn that when tyrants make threats, they're serious. When Russia says it will attack Ukraine, when China says it will attack Taiwan, when jihadist Iran says it will attack Israel, we must believe them. Tyrants only respect strength.
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) February 24, 2022
Meanwhile, following the news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine Thursday, China called for talks to resolve the Ukraine crisis but avoided criticizing Putin’s attack because it was simultaneously approving imports of Russian wheat.
China is the only major government to refrain from condemning Putin's attack. But it tempered that by calling for restraint and respect for national sovereignty.
Chinese ties with Russia have grown stronger under President Xi Jinping, who met Putin this month in Beijing. China's multibillion-dollar purchases of Russian gas for its energy-hungry economy have been a lifeline to Putin, who already was under Western sanctions over its 2014 seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.
After their Beijing meeting just three weeks ago, Xi and Putin issued a statement endorsing key foreign policy issues for both sides - Moscow's opposition to a NATO expansion in former Soviet republics and China’s claim to the self-ruled island of Taiwan.