NewsWorldQuarantine, remote strikes, invasion: Chinese scenarios against Taiwan

Quarantine, remote strikes, invasion: Chinese scenarios against Taiwan

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Published on: 06/08/2022 – 17:26 Taiwan accused, on Saturday, the Chinese army of simulating an attack on the island during military exercises mobilizing more than a hundred combat planes and more than about ten military ships between August 4 and 7. These maneuvers are presented as a scenario for a future blockade of the island which constitutes one of Beijing’s possible strategies. Still several hours to go before the end of the Chinese military exercises, scheduled for this Sunday, August 7 at noon. In the meantime, Taiwan’s armed forces remain on high alert as dozens of Chinese fighter jets, ships and missiles are tested near the island that Beijing wants to bring back into the national fold “willingly or not”. force”. The visit of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and these military exercises – the largest ever organized by the Chinese army near Taiwan – have revived speculation about the form that an attack of mainland China against this island of 400 kilometers by 150, almost twice the size of Corsica. If this question seems remote for French and European decision-makers, it is crucial for American think tanks who perceive the conflict around Taiwan as decisive for the pre-eminence of the United States in the Western Pacific. Several forward-looking action plans have been established, which revolve around two distinct strategies: the encirclement and then the suffocation of Taiwan to force the reunification desired by Beijing, or the invasion in order of the island. Blockade, quarantine… the strategy of the boa constrictorA map of the six maritime zones of the current Chinese exercises shows the island of Taiwan completely surrounded by enemy forces. American military experts, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, thus affirm that this provision reinforces the scenario where Beijing would impose a blockade of Taiwan in order to force negotiations on reunification. A report by the Rand Corporation published in February 2022 presented this scenario as inspired by the blockade of Cuba in 1962. The research institute rather evokes a “quarantine”: Beijing would let food and essential provisions through. “China’s objectives (would consist of) demonstrating by a fait accompli its sovereignty by controlling the air and maritime spaces, as well as the deliveries of cargo ships, ships, planes, and people who have access to Taiwan”, write the authors of the report. In theory, a blockade is considered an act of war, but Beijing would use the fact that the UN recognizes “one China” to argue that its actions respect international legality. In fact, such an action would involve an even greater military deployment than in recent days to enforce this “quarantine”. Maritime militia ships are deploying around Taiwan to enforce the quarantine, intercepting ships that seek to approach the island without Beijing’s consent.Chinese fighter jets and its surface-to-air defense systems prepare to attack any unauthorized intrusion into Taiwanese airspace,” writes a Reuters investigation detailing how such a scenario unfolds. In addition, the Chinese military could invade small islands under Taiwanese sovereignty, such as the Matsu or Kinmen Islands, which are totally indefensible because they are located only a few kilometers from the Chinese coast, to increase the pressure on Taipei. American analysts point out that this strategy of the state uffement would be part of the continuity of a Chinese policy which they describe as “gray-zone warfare” – a low-intensity conflict, without declaration of war. Ongoing exercises and repeated intrusions by Chinese fighter jets to test Taiwanese defenses are, they say, an integral part of this strategy. A key advantage of this plan – from the Chinese point of view – is that it shifts the weighty decision to open fire onto the shoulders of the Taiwanese and American authorities. Multiple PLA aircraft and vessels were detected participating in drills around Taiwan Strait and have crossed the median line. #ROCARmedForces have utilized alert broadcast, aircraft in CAP, patrolling naval vessels, and land-based missile systems in response to this situation. pic.twitter.com/lVpRWCZxhm— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, ROC 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) August 5, 2022 The main limitation of a strategy of suppression is that it does not guarantee a Taiwanese capitulation. On the contrary, a blockade or the attack on isolated islands could galvanize the will to resist of the Taiwanese population, of its government, as well as of its Western allies. A situation that could then precipitate Beijing’s ultimate nightmare: the independence of Taiwan and its integration into a formal alliance treaty with the United States and Japan. “Shock and awe” in the Pacific… strikes and a massive invasion of TaiwanThis is why other American analysts believe that the Chinese attack plan would take the form of a surprise attack on the island, which would notably aim to decapitate the Taiwanese government, in order to limit its capacities to mobilize before a massive landing. . A revisited form of the “Shock and Awe” (“shock and awe”) campaign in Iraq in 2003, which had enabled the American army to seize Baghdad in less than twenty days. China must go big and brutal from the start Its war plan may well include a surprise missile airstrike on Taiwan and US military bases in the Pacific, strikes on satellite communications (…) and a wave of sabotage and assassinations in Taiwan, as a prelude to a massive airborne and amphibious invasion”, writes in the Wall Street Journal Professor Hal Brands, specialist in international relations and co-author of “Danger Zone: The Coming Conflict with China”. The likelihood of such an invasion is growing, he said, as Chinese authorities fear losing Taiwan forever. The figures of such an operation make you dizzy. Military strategists usually estimate that a ratio of at least three attackers to one defender is needed, which would mean for the Chinese army to mobilize 1.2 million men to face the 450,000 Taiwanese soldiers (including more than half are reservists). This invasion force should cross the 180 kilometers of sea of ​​the Taiwan Strait under a rain of missiles before landing on an island whose topography – cliffs, mountains, densely populated cities – is favorable to entrenched defenders. The invasion of Taiwan would be “nothing like the D-Day landings” on June 6, 1944, said Ian Easton, a director of the Project 2049 institute and author of “The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia”. To ensure the logistical effort, the Chinese army would then requisition hundreds of ferries and civilian ships, which have been organized for several years to be mobilized as military auxiliaries, according to Thomas Shugart, a former American non-commissioned officer. sailor and researcher at the CNAS (Center for a New American Security). “The invasion scenario may appear very risky”, specifies a report by the Council on Foreign Relations published in February 2021. “But, from the point of view of a Chinese analyst, the lasting reward would be the final resolution of Taiwan’s sovereignty issue.” 🇹🇼🇨🇳The invasion of Taiwan would be much more perilous than that of Ukraine by Russia. This is an island defended by a very well equipped army and which has been preparing for decades for an amphibious assault from China. Not to mention possible support 🇺🇸 for Taipei. pic.twitter.com/AIfYu9OMBQ— Delphi Observatory (@ObsDelphi) August 2, 2022

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