WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the world watches the crisis in Ukraine, our military leaders are also keeping tabs on countries like China and North Korea.   

“The entire world is a challenge,” said Rep. Adam Smith (D- WA). “With Russia's unprovoked and devastating invasion of Ukraine, we've been reminded that we can't just focus on one part of the world.”  

In a House Armed Services Committee, members and military leaders said what is happening in Ukraine can impact almost every part of the world and they're turning their attention to the Indo-Pacific region, where our local congressional members have warned for weeks: countries like China and North Korea are watching how the world responds to Russia's aggression.   

“The region faces mounting security challenges, particularly from the People's Republic of China,” said Dr. Ely Ratner with the Department of Defense. “The PRC has adopted a more coercive and assertive approach to advancing its authoritarian interests. North Korea's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs also constitute a serious threat to the United States and our allies and partners.” 

They said now is the time to build up our allies in the region. 

“It’s become clear that President Xi in China intends something more combative than that,” said Rep. Smith. “They are trying to push us out and advance an authoritarian way of looking at the world that has very little respect for human rights or anything other than the blunt force of what they want. Economically, we need to compete against that we need to convince the world to go in a different direction.”  

With the Ukraine invasion in mind, military leaders look at the China-Taiwan situation. They’re worried China could ramp up their aggressions towards Taiwan. They said China should take note of the international response from the Ukraine invasion,  

“The international condemnation and the unwillingness to accept it and third, the drastic economic impacts on the people,” said Admiral John Aquilino, Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. “Those are the right lessons should this switch over to the Indo-Pacific region.”  

Members also pointed out that the Ukraine crisis could have global economic impacts. Many countries including those in southeast Asia receive a lot of wheat from Ukraine and with this war going on, a lack of food security could potentially cause instability in that region.