Stefanik warns Russia, China 'strengthening' their 'authoritarian alliance'

House GOP Conference Chair: Biden is ‘projecting weakness on the global stage’

House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik tells Fox News’ Brooke Singman that Biden is projecting weakness with Russia and China.

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. – House Republican Caucus Chair Elise Stefanik told Fox News that Russia and China began “strengthening their alliance” before the war in Ukraine, and she called on the Biden administration to enforce “much, much tougher” consequences should Beijing provide aid to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“That is dangerous to the West, dangerous to the United States, dangerous to all of our allies, particularly in Europe, and particularly you know, countries like Ukraine and Taiwan,” Stefanik told Fox News on the sidelines of the House Republican Issues Conference.

The Biden administration has voiced “deep concerns” about Russia’s “alignment” with China. Intelligence officials said that the Kremlin had turned to Beijing for economic and military aid after its invasion of Ukraine Feb. 24.

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President Biden had a secure video call with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week for nearly two hours in which he warned of the “consequences” should China “provide material support” to Russia amid its multifront war on Ukraine.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who met with his Chinese counterpart in Rome last week ahead of Biden and Xi’s meeting, said that the administration “has not seen” the “provision of military equipment by China to Russia” in the days since Biden’s meeting.

President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose during a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on Feb. 4, 2022.
(Photo by Alexei DruzhininTASS via Getty Images)

“But of course, this is something we are monitoring closely,” Sullivan said Tuesday. “We will continue to monitor it.”

As for whether China thinks it could be in its interest to provide aid to Russia, Stefanik said she believes Xi is “having to assess what the consequences would be a potential aid to Russia.”

“And I think this administration should be much, much tougher on what potential consequences towards China would be if they go down that route,” Stefanik said. “We have not seen that from Joe Biden — they’ve been very weak when it comes to countering China, which is in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s position on China.”

But Stefanik didn’t only criticize the Biden administration’s strategy with regard to China — she also pointed fingers at House Democrats, who she said “have been weak in combating China.”

“I have been a part of the China Task Force, which was supposed to be bipartisan, and we had been working on this for months and months — it was going to be co-equal, Democrats and Republicans, because we believe this is an American issue to combat China,” Stefanik told Fox News. “And at the 11th hour, Democrats walked away, they pulled all their members, and it is just House Republicans who were seated on the committee now.”

Stefanik said House Republicans have “put forward some really important legislative proposals” on that task force.

“Whether it was to make sure that we have robust manufacturing, that we’re protecting our intellectual property here that we’re calling out Chinese propaganda and calling genocide for what it is, which has been committed by the Communist Chinese regime,” Stefanik said.

Meanwhile, the House GOP Conference chair warned of “geopolitical consequences of the war on Ukraine” and warned that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine could embolden Xi in his ambitions to take Taiwan. 

The White House said Biden, during his call with Xi last week, “reiterated that U.S. policy on Taiwan has not changed, and emphasized that the United States continues to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo.” 

“We need to learn from this failed deterrence from Joe Biden,” Stefanik said. “We need to arm Taiwan now, we need to make sure that they have the resources and the weaponry to self-defend against a Chinese Communist Party invasion and takeover.”

Stefanik was referring to the Biden administration’s move to send military aid and weapons to Ukraine after the invasion. Republicans have said the president should have provided more weapons, aircraft and military aid prior to Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24.

The Biden administration last week provided nearly $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine. 

The new package includes 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems; 2,000 Javelins, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons and 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems; 100 unmanned drones; 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns and 400 shotguns; more than 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds; 25,000 sets of body armor; and 25,000 helmets. The equipment will be transferred directly from the Department of Defense to the Ukrainian military, Biden said.

As for Biden, Stefanik told Fox News she feels he is “projecting weakness on the global stage.”

“Joe Biden as commander in chief and president of the United States should not be signaling this weakness, should not be signaling to adversaries like Russia what we won’t do, because Vladimir Putin is going to take advantage of that — he’s going to take advantage of that vacuum, and weakness on the world stage.”

Stefanik said that “one of the greatest failures of the Biden administration has been their first year in office.”

“Joe Biden was so weak, whether it was. you know, just slapping Russia on the wrist for the numerous Russian-backed cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, whether it was their failure and hesitation to stand with Israel — remember that in the first few months of the administration — or whether it was the catastrophic withdrawal of Afghanistan,” Stefanik said.

“House Republicans, particularly during the very tragic withdrawal from Afghanistan, we have said that adversaries like Putin, and Xi, and Communist China are watching and they’re watching this weakness, and that we think they would take advantage of it,” Stefanik said. “And unfortunately, we’re seeing that on the war in Ukraine.”

The president is in Europe this week and participated in an emergency NATO meeting to discuss the international response to Russia’s war on Ukraine. The meeting took place Thursday in Brussels, Belgium. 

The president on Friday morning announced in Brussels that the U.S. and European Union will be launching a joint task force to help Europe pull away from its reliance on Russian gas.

The task force will “work to ensure energy security for Ukraine and the EU in preparation for next winter and the following one while supporting the EU’s goal to end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels,” the White House said in a statement. 

Under the plan, the U.S. and other nations will increase liquefied natural gas exports to Europe by 15 billion cubic meters this year. Even larger shipments would be delivered in the future.

Biden earlier this month announced a ban on all oil and gas imports from Russia to the United States amid Moscow’s multi-front war on Ukraine and has implemented a number of sanctions on Russian banks and officials close to Putin.

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