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The coronavirus pandemic has increased Chinese president Xi Jinping’s popularity at home he now may be emboldened to cement his desire to take the “lost” territory of Taiwan under his control. Xi Jinping would be the only person who could order an attack on Taiwan. Jealous of the country prospering as an example of a Chinese democracy Xi announced last year that “peaceful reunification” would be the best option, but he would not “renounce the use of force.”
Throughout September the People’s Liberation Army, PLA, made repeated incursions of the median line between Taiwan and mainland China.
The Taiwanese government refused to take the bait that could lead to military engagement and be used as a precursor for Beijing to invade the island nation.
Taiwan has stated it would only respond if was attacked.
Beijing’s state-run tabloid the Global Times has said China’s airforce would patrol the skies over Taiwan to “achieve reunification through military means”.
Both sides are cautious of taking a military approach to the so-called, “Taiwan question”.
Beijing knows a conflict with Taiwan has a high likelihood of drawing in the US which would lead to possible nuclear conflict.
But Ian Easton of the Project 2049 Institute said he was “increasingly concerned that a major crisis is coming”.
Mr Easton added: “It is possible to envision this ending in an all-out invasion attempt and superpower war.
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“The next five to 10 years are going to be dangerous ones.
“This flashpoint is fundamentally unstable.”
Now the Project 2049 Institute has created a simulation of what could happen if China invaded Taiwan.
The simulation was based on military exercises, arms purchases and strategy documents.
When the analysts gamed the scenario the most likely outcome was a quick knockout from China before the US can intervene to assist Taipei.
China spends 25 times more on its military than Taiwan and has a nuclear arsenal.
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The modelling found China would attempt to disable military satellites controlled by the US and Taiwan so the laters ballistic missiles would be immobilised.
The invasion would then follow with PLA warships and submarines crossing the 80 miles of ocean between China and Taiwan.
Chinese paratroopers would parachute into the Taiwanese mainland.
They would help neutralise Taiwanese coastal defences for the arrival of tens of thousands of Chinese troops landing amphibiously.
But, Taiwan has been preparing for a possible invasion for years.
The coastline of the island is known for its sheer cliffs and treacherous waters.
The interior of the island is mountainous with many tunnels to hide key Taiwanese leaders and insurgents.
It would be a difficult escapade to subdue Taiwan’s population of 24 million.
Military advisor to the Pentagon Michael Beckley wrote in a 2017 paper stated: “The PLA clearly would have its hands full just dealing with Taiwan’s defenders.
“Consequently, the United States would only need to tip the scales of the battle to foil a Chinese invasion.”
The worst case scenario sees the US being forced to intervene and lead the conflict into a wider global scale battle between two nuclear-armed states.
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