This Is What Would Happen if China Invaded Taiwan

Published June 19, 2024

The new book World on the Brink: How America Can Beat China in the Race for the 21st Century lays out what might actually happen if China were to invade Taiwan in 2028.

 

IN LATE MARCH, a Taiwanese data analyst posted on social media about an odd satellite image: It appeared that the Chinese military had erected at one of its remote military bases in Inner Mongolia a series of roads that perfectly re-created the roads around the presidential palace in Taipei. The revelation only appeared to underscore the seriousness with which Chinese officials are proceeding with President Xi Jinping’s directive to be ready to invade the independent island by the late 2020s. As part of the research for his new book, World on the Brink: How America Can Beat China in the Race for the 21st Century, Dmitri Alperovitch journeyed to Taiwan, talked with multiple high-level officials and national security planners in Taiwan and the United States, and walked the possible invasion terrain to imagine just how such an invasion might occur. His scenario, excerpted here and which he imagines taking place on November 13, 2028, serves as the new book’s prologue.

The winter season in Taiwan—lasting from November till March—is great for surfers. It’s no Bali or Hawaii, as the size of the waves and their consistency may vary, but the Northeast Monsoon, which brings in the cold China Coastal Current water into the Taiwan Strait, where it meets the warm Kuroshio Branch Current coming from the south, is known to form some significant waves. The Taiwan Strait is only about a hundred meters deep—shallow enough that during ice ages and the time of glaciers the island of Taiwan was physically connected to the Chinese mainland; but even in the modern era the 200-mile-long passage—which varies in width from about 100 nautical miles down to just 70 nautical miles and is one of the most vital shipping routes in the world—is known for frequent storms, large swells, and blinding fog and is bedeviled by annual summer typhoons from roughly May to October. Between the typhoons in the summer and the stormy high-wave winter season, there is no predictably perfect and easy time to launch a large-scale amphibious invasion of Taiwan, especially with the strait registering about 150 days a year of winds above 20 knots, rough seas for amphibious ships and landing craft. Any landing on Taiwan’s windy, shallow, and rocky beaches during that time is fraught and risky. Which is why, in the end, China decided to forego a beach landing and attempt an air assault on the island’s port and airfield facilities, the seizure of which would allow for rapid arrival of follow-on troops and logistical supplies to facilitate a successful occupation.

The final Chinese PLA plan counted on precisely that Taiwanese restraint when China’s ships entered Taiwan’s waters and closed in on the vital northwestern coastal Port of Taipei, a modern facility completed in 2012 that boasted 4,500 feet of so-called berth space, a substantial amount of space available for cargo offloading. There the PLA planned to leverage existing infrastructure to rapidly unload hundreds of thousands of troops and thousands of tanks, armored vehicles, heavy engineering equipment, weapons, munitions, and the logistics supplies needed for the conquest of the island. While Taipei wasn’t the largest port in Taiwan, the rapid capture of its docks was essential to the success of the operation, since other Taiwanese port facilities were too far away from the capital city. That distance and Taiwan’s extensive array of steep mountains and winding rivers made the rapid transport of a large PLA armored force from any other port or beach to the capital all but impossible.

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SOURCE: www.wired.com

RELATED: Taiwan keeping watch after Chinese submarine surfaces in Taiwan Strait

Published June 18, 2024
TAIPEI, June 18 (Reuters) – Taiwan’s defence minister said on Tuesday that they have a “grasp” of the situation after pictures appeared online of a Chinese nuclear submarine surfacing in the sensitive Taiwan Strait near Taiwanese fishermen.
The narrow strait that separates Taiwan from China is a frequent source of tension. Taiwan reports Chinese warplanes and warships operating there on a daily basis, as Beijing seeks to assert its sovereignty claims against the democratically governed island.
Taiwanese media published the pictures of the surfaced craft, which appears to be a nuclear-armed Jin class ballistic missile submarine, taken by a Taiwanese fishing boat in the strait as dawn broke on Tuesday, about 200 km (125 miles) from Taiwan’s western coast.
Asked about the submarine, Taiwan Defence Minister Wellington Koo said they have a “grasp” of the intelligence situation, but declined to say how they were monitoring it or give details.
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SOURCE: www.reuters.com

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Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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