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Thread: Will China Invade Taiwan?

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    Will China Invade Taiwan?

    And if so, what should be the U.S. response?

    There’s been a lot of talk about China invading Taiwan in the next few years. CINCPAC warned Congress it could happen very soon. Recently, the Chinese Navy “surrounded” Taiwan, conducting exercises to demonstrate their capabilities. Xi has said he doesn’t want to leave unification to the next generation. And he’s 67.

    Personally I’m skeptical though that China would try and launch a full scale invasion. The political and military risks are too great. This isn’t just some river crossing. China doesn’t have much of an amphibious capability. They have one aircraft carrier and minimal ASW experience. They risk US and many other nations involvement which would threaten trade relations throughout the world.

    Furthermore, it’s not clear they could take the island, although they could do enormous damage to it. Taiwan has significant military assets, and it’s possible they could hit any invasion force pretty hard and make any attempted occupation very, very costly. That’s even if no one comes to Taiwan’s aid. And if the U.S. surreptitiously sends its subs into the strait (which is shallow so that’s risky) they could effectively thwart any invasion fleet.

    So I’m a bit skeptical that they would risk such an overt attempt. But they are likely to do further things to try and intimidate Taiwan into just surrendering without a shot. They may even go so far as establish a blockade. But that’s an act of war and would justify an aggressive response.

    The other concern is the political independence of China’s military. Could the commanders go rogue and just do it, thus compelling China to go whole hog or give up?

    There’s lots of scenarios.

    Thoughts?

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    Will Taiwan be to Biden what Syria was to Trump?

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by repoman View Post
    Will Taiwan be to Biden what Syria was to Trump?
    I shouldn't think so. Our loyalties would be much clearer in the case of a conflict between China and Taiwan, and we would have the full support of the international community.

    But I also think that we won't, and shouldn't, get involved in a direct military conflict with China. The problem with waging war in modern times is that everyone who plays, loses.
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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    China can destroy Taiwan. China can't invade Taiwan--they don't have the sealift to do it with. If you can't put enough forces on the ground fast enough without using ports the forces you land will be destroyed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    China can destroy Taiwan. China can't invade Taiwan--they don't have the sealift to do it with. If you can't put enough forces on the ground fast enough without using ports the forces you land will be destroyed.
    Yeah, but China's got a lot of young unmarried men. Like in the Korean War, it can send in wave after wave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trausti View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    China can destroy Taiwan. China can't invade Taiwan--they don't have the sealift to do it with. If you can't put enough forces on the ground fast enough without using ports the forces you land will be destroyed.
    Yeah, but China's got a lot of young unmarried men. Like in the Korean War, it can send in wave after wave.
    In an amphibian war, the defense has a great advantage. And the Taiwan military is much more lethal than most people think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by repoman View Post
    Will Taiwan be to Biden what Syria was to Trump?
    What do you mean? That the US should withdraw from helping Taiwan to defend itself?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trausti View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    China can destroy Taiwan. China can't invade Taiwan--they don't have the sealift to do it with. If you can't put enough forces on the ground fast enough without using ports the forces you land will be destroyed.
    Yeah, but China's got a lot of young unmarried men. Like in the Korean War, it can send in wave after wave.
    The straits aren’t the Yalu River. They can’t send in wave after wave.

    Not saying they couldn’t win. Just that it would be extremely risky. A lot could happen in a crossing. A defeat could devastate the CCP. The PLAN would be humiliated. Xi would be tossed out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    And if so, what should be the U.S. response?

    There’s been a lot of talk about China invading Taiwan in the next few years. CINCPAC warned Congress it could happen very soon. Recently, the Chinese Navy “surrounded” Taiwan, conducting exercises to demonstrate their capabilities. Xi has said he doesn’t want to leave unification to the next generation. And he’s 67.

    Personally I’m skeptical though that China would try and launch a full scale invasion. The political and military risks are too great. This isn’t just some river crossing. China doesn’t have much of an amphibious capability. They have one aircraft carrier and minimal ASW experience. They risk US and many other nations involvement which would threaten trade relations throughout the world.

    Furthermore, it’s not clear they could take the island, although they could do enormous damage to it. Taiwan has significant military assets, and it’s possible they could hit any invasion force pretty hard and make any attempted occupation very, very costly. That’s even if no one comes to Taiwan’s aid. And if the U.S. surreptitiously sends its subs into the strait (which is shallow so that’s risky) they could effectively thwart any invasion fleet.

    So I’m a bit skeptical that they would risk such an overt attempt. But they are likely to do further things to try and intimidate Taiwan into just surrendering without a shot. They may even go so far as establish a blockade. But that’s an act of war and would justify an aggressive response.

    The other concern is the political independence of China’s military. Could the commanders go rogue and just do it, thus compelling China to go whole hog or give up?

    There’s lots of scenarios.

    Thoughts?
    To go with your point about Xi's age, how about this:


    Xi wants to be regarded by the Chinese people at large as the greatest chairman ever. So far, that's perhaps Mao - the worst of them all, but regarded as the greatest.
    Now, he can try to do that with propaganda, but that only goes so far, so he reckons the only realistic chance is to take Taiwan, and maybe some islands in the South China Sea for good measure. So, he'll do it. Not yet, but when he reckons the PLA is in a better position (so, they're getting ready). But he isn't getting any younger and can't wait forever. So, the attack will probably happen in the second half of the 2020s, that is somewhere between the beginning of 2026 and the end of 2030, barring black swans (e.g., Xi has heart attack out of nowhere and dies; big breakthroughs in US military tech).

    What do I think of the above scenario?

    I'm not following the details, so I have pretty limited info. Based on that limited info, I would say probably something like the above will happen. But then, it's pretty limited info, so it's pretty tentative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trausti View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    China can destroy Taiwan. China can't invade Taiwan--they don't have the sealift to do it with. If you can't put enough forces on the ground fast enough without using ports the forces you land will be destroyed.
    Yeah, but China's got a lot of young unmarried men. Like in the Korean War, it can send in wave after wave.
    Send them how? They're going to march across the ocean? The limiting factor is building a sustainable beachhead. It's a very hard thing to do.

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