May 7, 2021

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China Could Invade Taiwan By 2027, U.S. admiral warns

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sometimes there is no avoiding war it can only be postponed to the advantage of others after subduing the popular unrest in hong kongchina is turning to the next target self-governing taiwan the two have been bracing for conflict

for decades but the battle for the island has recently entered a dangerous new phase the one country two systems principle has come to a closure and beijing is running out of

diplomatic options to reverse taiwan’s drift towards independence top u.s military officials believe that china could invade taiwan within the next six years owing to the fact that america is

distracted by domestic issues beijing has been stocking up on weapon expanding its navy and drilling for amphibious operations but how did it get to this point and hypothetically speaking how would such an assault take place.

taiwan is a political stain on the legitimacy of the chinese communist party although the ruling government in beijing has never exercised

authority over the island chinese policy makers consider it part of the people’s republic of china they have vowed to take it back by force if necessary

this uncompromising approach wasn’t always so in the early 1980s beijing designed the one country two systems principle to regain control over hong kong and macau simultaneously the principle set a road map for taiwan’s reunification with china somewhere down the line.

however in the decades following hong kong and macau’s merger into china taiwan had drifted further away beijing used economic isolation and political interferenceto coerce reunification while washington provided sophisticated weaponry to the

taiwanese military tensions fluctuated over the years and beijing’s carrot and stick policy kept on backfiring
eventually in 2016 china cut ties with taiwan after the election of pro-independence forces washington then sold even more arms to taiwan while beijing increased military activity near the taiwan strait

the biggest game changer however was the hong kong protests in 2019 the way beijing handled the demonstrations and its steady encroachment on hong kong’s legislature completely vaporized the last chance for peaceful

reunification china and taiwan are now on irreparable ends and beijing is switching from soft power to hard power its air force flies near the taiwanese airspace on a daily basis and its incursions have breached

previously respected boundaries at the same time

china’s navy has procured high-tech weaponry for offensive purposes and openly drills for a taiwan takeover in beijing policymakers believe that america long viewed as the custodian of taiwan might be

too preoccupied at home to bear the costs of intervening on taiwan’s behalf so

there’s talk of acting against taiwan sooner rather than later yet of all the anxieties on china’s ambitions for taiwan none carry more weight than the assessment of admiral philip davidson

the chief of the u.s indo-pacifion command during a senate committee in february 2021 davidson argued that china’s consistent

development and procurement of ships warplanes and rockets served to displace the united states as the dominant power in asia pacific by 2050

taiwan is one of china’s ambitions and davidson believes a conflict is possible in the next six years bringing taiwan under china’s wing would grant beijing a commanding position in asia it would

entrench the chinese military in the middle of the first island chain which is a string of islands stretching

from the japanese archipelago to the
philippines to indonesia control over
taiwan
would also allow china to dictate terms
in the nearby shipping lanes giving it
tremendous leverage
over rival powers such as japan and
south korea who are

entirely dependent on the sea lines of

communication

having consolidated power in its

enclosed seas

china would have free access to the

pacific and

indian oceans needless to say the stakes

are high

for regional and global powers alike

but be that as it may china faces

an undeniable conundrum its military

may not be up to the task at least not

without taking massive

losses china has a vast military

that is increasingly becoming more

sophisticated

but it also has a lot of territory to

cover

with powerful adversaries on all fronts

taiwan also has a sophisticated military

and though

its size is much smaller they only need

to operate in a small battle space

facing one opponent this then coupled

with the fact that america

and japan would de facto back taiwan

levels the playing field china’s annual

military budget is estimated at

250 billion dollars compared to only

11 billion dollars for taiwan the

chinese military

also has 12 times the manpower of the

taiwanese

and last year beijing commissioned 25

advanced new ships to its fleet

including

cruisers destroyers and ballistic

missile submarines

taiwan is also expanding its navy

particularly

its submarine fleet by 2026

the taiwanese fleet will quadruple to

eight

diesel-powered submarines though the

additional submarines would make china’s

amphibious landing all the more

difficult the rate

at which china expands its military

capacity

is incomparable with each year the

military imbalance grows in favor of

beijing

having said that even with china’s

growing capacities

invading and occupying taiwan would be

an

extraordinarily difficult act not to

mention

a risky proposition to invade taiwan

chinese forces would need to make an

eight hour journey

into the teeth of taiwanese firepower

coming from well-entrenched onshore

positions

the bulk of the chinese troops would

perish under fire

and those who do manage to reach the

taiwanese coastline would come under a

barrage of

artillery fire only a tenth of taiwan’s

coastline

is suitable for amphibious landing so

the odds of a surprise attack

are slim and the taiwanese would likely

mobilize their forces at the anticipated

landing zones

taiwan has roughly 130 000 troops

plus another 1.5 million in reserve

plus thousands of armored fighting

vehicles and

artillery pieces thus to overrun the

island

china would need overwhelming firepower

which it currently does not possess

going up against

such a tremendous force would be one of

the largest

and most complex amphibious operations

in history

and that is saying something of all the

types of military operations

amphibious warfare is one of the most

complicated

because it entails precise coordination

between

air land and sea forces at a massive

scale

not every military is capable of such

tactics

china has no experience in amphibious

warfare

the last major war china fought in was

the border conflict with vietnam

and even then it performed poorly still

china’s amphibious disadvantage is only

a strategic vulnerability

if america gets involved but for

argument’s sake

if somehow a chinese amphibious assault

succeeds

the chinese army would then have to

occupy an island

with a hostile population of 23 million

that is not going to be easy and

insurgency would be unavoidable

so a lot of things would have to go

right if china’s invasion

is to succeed and that is not likely

the first casualty of any battle is the

plan of attack

an all-out chinese invasion at this

point in time

could theoretically succeed but it could

just as much

fail miserably a military disaster would

have catastrophic political consequences

above all it would brand the chinese

military

as a paper tiger and encourage foreign

incursions

elsewhere for china these considerations

are too risky so a full-scale invasion

is not likely in the near future what is

possible however

is that china begins a hybrid war which

is a type of conflict that stops short

of an actual shooting

and seeks to subdue the foe through fear

and

exhaustion it’s the type of conflict

employed by iran

russia turkey israel etc

if performed correctly a hybrid war can

be decisive

that’s why chinese warplanes are flying

around taiwan

almost daily sometimes launching

multiple sorties on the same day

the pace of the chinese incursions is

unrelenting

last year taiwan had scrambled its air

force

nearly 3 000 times against chinese

warplanes

costing taiwan a whopping 900 million

dollars

in fuel costs pilot fatigue and wear and

tear

so without firing a single shot china is

depleting

taiwan’s resources the chinese military

has more than 2

000 fighters bombers and other warplanes

compared with taiwan’s 400 fighters

so beijing can afford to keep the

pressure

and by increasing the tempo of these

operations

the chinese air force can inflict

disproportionate stress

on taiwan it’s a deadly effective

strategy

the purpose of hybrid warfare is to make

the target

feel as if it’s isolated as if its

allies

are not coming to the rescue and that

the military threat

is not a bluff for this to work the

assault needs to be

low risk as not to provoke a backlash

from the united states

that would require china to find the

right

tune in posturing and yet give itself

enough room to back down

china could for instance impose a naval

blockade

to suffocate taiwan it could intercept

taiwanese cargo ships claiming that

they’re carrying illicit goods or

weapons

no one would believe china and much of

the international community

would condemn beijing’s policy but none

of that would matter

because no one would physically come to

taiwan’s defense

such a naval blockade wouldn’t result in

an armed conflict

and would likely force taiwan into

concessions

allowing beijing to claim victory and

back down

another example would be for china to

shock anna taiwan

into political concession by seizing the

taiwan controlled kinmen and matsu

islands

just off the taiwanese coast the number

of chinese vessels entering taiwan

controlled waters

has surged in recent years for

comparison

while only two chinese vessels entered

taiwanese waters in 2017

that number jumped to 600 in 2019

and nearly 4 000 in 2020

this one particular satellite image from

october 2020

shows more than 200 ships off the coast

of one of the matsu islands

the threat here is very real

these islands are lightly defended and

have some strategic value

control over these islands would expand

china’s buffer

while also extending the range of

chinese bombers

and anti-ship missiles america would be

unlikely to go to war over a remote

island well within

china’s anti-ship missile umbrella which

would leave taiwan

feeling isolated once more but the

trouble with hybrid warfare

is that it means abandoning soft power

physical action against taiwan would

stir up a

zealous independence movement which

would make the occupation all the more

difficult

so while china could manufacture a

crisis

to reverse taiwan’s drift towards

independence

the prospects of an all-out invasion is

overblown

at least in the coming decade even then

china would only invade taiwan if it is

confident in its victory

or desperate for domestic approval

this reassurance however doesn’t mean

that taiwan can let its guard down

quite the contrary defense is the first

duty of a state and it is an

unfortunate fact that peace can only be

secured

by preparing for war i’ve been your host

shirvan from caspian report

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