Following the 2020 U.S. presidential election, many observers asserted that China-U.S. relations, what have been strained most of the time over the past three years, will see a change, most likely for the better. Judging from the moves taken by the militaries of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait in the air and under the sea during this same period, we can see that both sides have taken advantage of the occasion to expand their respective freedom of movement – whether through military exercises made known to the public or in clandestine ways.
As an ancient Chinese proverb says, “People who know about military affairs tend not to be bellicose.” Taiwan will not recklessly start a war. However, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is no longer the underdog that it was before the most recent round of military reform that kicked off at the end of 2015. We have to guard against the possibility that Beijing might opt to use force against Taiwan because of pressure from within and without. Currently, China mainly resorts to a gray zone strategy, as manifested in the dispatch of military aircraft and ships to harass Taiwan on a regular basis. However, we cannot rule out the possibility of more direct actions. It’s also possible that Taiwan’s reaction time to threats from the PLA may become insufficient due to its inactivity in the face of the constant presence of PLA aircraft and ships around Taiwan.
The Chinese government has warned the US that the country is preparing for war and that Taiwan will be occupied by China’s People’s Liberation Army in 2021. China has warned the US that it will fulfill Mao Zedong’s dream by occupying Taiwan for three days if a military conflict breaks out.
While the People’s Liberation Army is self-regulating in its approach to Taiwan, its moves are aimed at declaring its sovereignty over Taiwan and administering the battlespace in the Taiwan Strait through intensive military activity throughout the region. While the above tactic still cannot achieve the goal of forcing Taiwan to submit, the People’s Liberation Army is raising tensions to create a low-intensity conflict to force Taiwan to accept unification with China. In addition to sending warplanes into the island’s airspace, this type of economic constraint is another way that China wants to adopt Taiwan.
The Taiwan Strait could potentially become the scene of a Sino-American military conflict, and the US and Taiwan have an opportunity to address the CCP threat together. Taiwan has struggled lately to catch up with China’s growing military advantage but should prepare.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has held military exercises in the Taiwan Strait to put pressure on Taiwan. The Chinese navy has conducted naval exercises off the coast of Taiwan, while the US has increased its military presence on Taiwan’s east coast. The United States has shown little interest in military conflict with China in recent years, and this has led China to increase pressure on Taiwan with almost daily air and sea attacks. China’s military activity in and around the Hainan Strait and the South China Sea has increased dramatically.
The US military is also active in the region, sending warships through the Taiwan Strait several times a year and aircraft operating near the islands to monitor the People’s Liberation Army’s maneuvers.
This surge in Chinese forces is hard to ignore, as there is an ongoing campaign to poach Taiwan’s remaining allies and isolate Taiwan diplomatically. The fact that Beijing is flouting its treaty obligations to Hong Kong and stepping up military maneuvers and provocations suggests that Taiwan may be next. This may help answer the question of why China is now more willing than ever to put military pressure on Taiwan.
There are likely hawks in Beijing who favor an invasion of Taiwan, confident that the US would not respond with its military might. Some fear that such a scenario could bring a mass of Chinese forces off the coast of China near Taiwan and an aggressive realignment of its missile systems, which would raise alarm in Washington, D.C.
If the US-China confrontation intensifies, Xi Jinping may feel compelled to move toward unifying Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. If China believes that the United States is about to make a security pledge to Taiwan, that prospect could become a spur to China to act hastily.
Although Dr. Mastro is no expert on China’s military, it is better to ask yourself whether a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be successful. There are likely hawks in Beijing who would favor an invasion of Taiwan, confident that the US would not respond with its military might
Finally, I think it is correct to say that the US does not want to go to war with Taiwan, but there are other means of expressing its displeasure at such a move, such as cyber-attacks on the South China Sea. Finally, and this is the most important part of the article, it states that “the U.S.” does not want to go to “war” against Taiwan. And there are other ways to express disapproval of China’s military actions, whether through cyberattacks or attacks in and around the South China Sea. Finally, I think it is true for the “US” to say that “the US” does not “want to enter” a “war” with Taiwan; but what other means are they using?
China has pursued a “gray area” strategy, as manifested by its regular harassment of Taiwan, such as cyber attacks on the South China Sea and other parts of the region.
The Chinese navy might try to capture the Penghu archipelago and use it as a military base to move closer to Taiwan’s main islands, including the capital Taipei. The Chinese navy, China could overwhelm Taiwan with missiles and cyberattacks before the United States even has a chance to respond. Tensions in the region are a long-standing threat to US-Taiwan relations that has so irritated the Chinese. China’s increased military activity in Taiwan and the South China Sea may be a precursor to the full invasion that Xi Jinping has announced.
I think it is unthinkable that the United States would stand by and allow China to conquer Taiwan. The pro-China Kuomintang believes that there is no chance of helping Beijing invade Taiwan, and while Beijing may well have the ability to successfully land troops in Taiwan and also hold US troops in check, its military hardware is far more powerful than the population, which claims to be 67%. Although the US is able to provide military assistance to Taiwan in the event of a confrontation with China, Donald Trump is unlikely to allow Taiwan to “go it alone.”