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Probably Too Costly For China To Invade Taiwan!

As China surrounded Taiwan and simulated an invasion of the self-governed island, it also released animated footage detailing the potential attack, sending a clear message to the pro-democracy forces in Taipei that an assault was inevitable.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) simulated an invasion of Taiwan, with several Chinese propagandists warning that this could be a precursor to a real attack. The main objectives of the exercises included integrated operations both within and beyond the island chain, precision strikes on key targets, and joint sea-air combat readiness patrols.

Despite China’s sustained fear-mongering, several military reports suggest that China is not yet prepared for an armed assault and is currently biding its time, potentially planning to launch an invasion by 2027.

While China does possess the capability to invade Taiwan, experts believe it would be outrageously costly, especially given the country’s recent economic slump. Moreover, such an invasion would likely face resistance from the United States and could escalate into a broader and prolonged conflict.

Some specialists believe that an invasion is a real possibility, but it is not imminent. Writing for Lowy Institute, Denny Roy, a Senior Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu specializing in Asia-Pacific strategic and security issues, said “Even with China’s massive arsenal of modern warships, combat aircraft, and missiles, Beijing is nowhere near the level of superiority that would guarantee a successful invasion given the probability of US and Japanese military resistance,”

To invade Taiwan, the Chinese PLA forces would need to cross the Taiwan Strait, which is just 128 kilometres wide at its narrowest point. The invasion would involve a sizable amphibious task force, including the landing and movement of soldiers, armoured vehicles, artillery, ammunition, fuel, food, and medical supplies. However, a fleet of this scale would be vulnerable to pre-emptive attacks by Taiwanese forces anticipating the invasion.

Additionally, the US and its regional allies, like Japan, are expected to become involved in the conflict due to Japan’s geographical proximity to Taiwan. Although the US adheres to the ‘One China’ policy in theory, President Joe Biden has repeatedly stated that the US military would come to Taipei’s aid in the event of an all-out attack.

Moreover, a report by the US-based think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), predicted that the invasion would be treacherous for China, requiring the coordination of air, land, and sea forces with electronic and cyber warfare in a highly sophisticated military operation. The CFR also noted that a seaborne invasion would only be feasible for a few months of the year due to the two monsoon seasons and other harsh weather conditions.

The report further pointed out that moving hundreds of thousands of soldiers across the Taiwan Strait would take thousands of ships and several weeks. Taiwan could target the ships, concentrate soldiers on potential landing spots, and build barriers, as each crossing would take hours.

While China has stated it would eliminate external interference when launching an invasion, military analysts suggest this would not be as easy as Beijing anticipates. The US has been gradually expanding its military presence in the region, with increased access to bases in the Philippines and additional troops and assets in Japan. The US also provides air defense alerts to its allies in the region and is expected to aid Taiwan with intelligence.

The combined and expanding deterrence and defense capabilities of Taiwan, the United States, and allies like Japan will also determine how prepared China’s PLA will be in three years. These conditions could make it extremely difficult for the PLA to launch, let alone carry out, a successful invasion.

The US has been strengthening Taiwan’s military by providing sophisticated equipment, such as F-16 Vipers and the Patriot missile defense system, which were used during recent drills.

China would face additional concerns. A battle across the Taiwan Strait would endanger the livelihoods of millions of Chinese citizens and disrupt regional economic activity, potentially jeopardizing Xi Jinping’s leadership due to ensuing social instability.

Even if China does not plan to invade Taiwan soon, it aims to wear down Taiwanese forces through consistent aggression and intimidation.

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