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China-Taiwan: “The military threat is much more credible than 20 years ago” – FRANCE 24

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Published on: 05/08/2022 – 18:21 Dozens of Chinese army planes and ships entered the Taiwanese air defense zone on Friday, the second day of the largest military exercises ever organized by Beijing. around the island. Maneuvers that allow Western military experts to study the modernization of the Chinese army. There is a commotion on the island of Taiwan, surrounded on all sides by areas of Chinese military live-fire exercises. Taiwanese F-16s thus had to take off urgently on Friday, August 5, while 49 Chinese fighter jets entered the air defense zone of the island, according to a press release from the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense. Thirteen Chinese warships had earlier crossed the center line of the strait that separates the island from mainland China, while several ballistic missiles were ostensibly “tested” by authorities in Beijing. 49 PLA aircraft (J-10*7, J-11*6, J-16*10, SU-30*24, Y-8 EW and Y-8 ASW ) flew on the east part of the median line of the Taiwan Strait on August 5, 2022. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/Ys11BtcCzv pic.twitter.com/MXupW45USe— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, ROC 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) August 5, 2022 This show of force is presented as a response to the visit to Taipei by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the American House of Representatives. Beijing considers the island of Taiwan as an integral part of its territory, which must be brought back willingly or by force into the national fold. These exercises of the Chinese army, which must continue until Sunday noon, are an opportunity for Western military experts to study the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait. France 24 spoke on this subject with Professor Alessio Patalano, a specialist in maritime strategy in East Asia at King’s College London. Do the current Chinese military exercises make it possible to determine Beijing’s ability to carry out a invasion of Taiwan? It is clear that China’s military capabilities have gradually improved. When we compare with previous exercises, in 1995-1996 and in the early 2000s, we see that the Chinese have longer-range missiles and that they have increased the quality of their ammunition and military capabilities (…). The Chinese navy can now deploy more comfortably far from the mainland, beyond the eastern coast of Taiwan. But we still lack information on Chinese capabilities in the submarine domain, for lack of open sources. The military threat is much more credible than it was 20 years ago. But it remains difficult to determine whether the Chinese army can really carry out such a major operation as the invasion of Taiwan. The last high-intensity war involving China dates back to 1979. Does the Chinese army have the ability to conduct modern joint operations involving the coordination of naval, air and land forces?These exercises will allow us to see to what extent the 2016 military reform, which created five joint command zones, has made it possible to improve these coordination. At first glance, it does appear to be the case. But that also doesn’t mean that this coordination will be perfect from start to finish. These Chinese military exercises will last a few days, while a military operation to invade Taiwan would take much longer. As seen with Russian invasion plans in Ukraine, there is a fundamental difference between a plan on a piece of paper and the test of the ground. Taiwan is short of pilots for its fleet of F fighter jets. -16, according to a recent Bloomberg survey, which points out that repeated Chinese jet incursions are slowing down pilot training programs. Can these Chinese military exercises deteriorate Taiwanese military capabilities? Not necessarily. The problem of the pilots is first linked to a period of transition between two strategic postures. In the mid-2010s, Taiwan wanted to transition from a conscript army to a volunteer-dominated professional force. They go back a bit on this, in particular because the example of Ukraine has shown that a system with territorial defense and armed civilians could be a deterrent. These transition periods cost money and create imbalances – like for example this lack of pilots at one point. But the Taiwanese are aware of this and will eventually solve the problem.

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