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Home / World / A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be a bloody logistical nightmare

A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be a bloody logistical nightmare

Under different circumstances this can be an alarming sight. Taiwan's fighter pilots are trained to land on freeways between missions if all of the island's airports are invaded or destroyed by an invasion.

Fortunately, this was an exercise.

There is only one real enemy that Taiwan's armed forces have prepared for resistance – China's People's Liberation Army (PLA). And as China's reputation as an economic and military superpower has grown in recent years, according to security experts, this invasive threat has also increased.

At a regional security conference in June, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said, "If anyone dares to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight for national unity at all costs." Shops in mainland China can buy postcards and T-shirts adorned with patriotic emblems promoting Taiwan's re-conquest.

But for seven decades, China has been resisting Taiwan's attack, partly for political reasons, including the prospect of a US intervention and the potential high number of people. Experts say, however, that the practical realities of a complete invasion are intimidating for the PLA.

To send hundreds of thousands of troops across narrow Taiwan Straits to a handful of reliable landing beaches in the face of fierce resistance. is a terrifying view. The troops would then roam Taiwan's western Wadden Sea and mountains for a long time to reach the capital, Taipei.

Not only that, but also China would face an opponent who has been preparing for the war for almost 70 years. In mass exercises against the invasion in May, Taiwanese military spokesman General Chen Chung-Chi said the island knew that she must always be "ready to fight".

"Of course we do not want war, but only if we gain our own strength can we defend ourselves," he said. "If China wants to do something about us, it has to consider paying a painful price."

  A historical poster of the Chinese Cultural Revolution showing a Chinese soldier and the island of Taiwan.

Difficult and Bloody

It could be easy to believe that Beijing's invasion of Taipei by Taipei would be short and devastating: a battle between David and Goliath between a tiny island and the military power, population and wealth of the country mainland. [19659016] With nearly 1.4 billion inhabitants, the People's Republic of China has the largest population in the world. Taiwan has less than 24 million inhabitants – a similar number as Australia. China has the fifth largest territory in the world, Taiwan is the size of Denmark or the state of Maryland. And Beijing has an economy that ranks second to the United States, while Taiwan is not among the top 20 in the world.

But perhaps most fittingly, China has built and modernized its military in China, while Taiwan relies on moderate US arms sales. In size, the PLA puts Taiwan's military in the shade.

China has an estimated 1 million troops, nearly 6,000 tanks, 1,500 fighter jets, and 33 marine destroyers, according to the latest US Department of Defense report. Taiwan's ground forces number nearly 150,000 and are supported by 800 tanks and about 350 combat aircraft, while the Navy uses only four ships of the destroyer class.
Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the PLA has swiftly advanced its modernization by increasing military spending and fighting corruption in the army's leadership.
China's leaders hope the possession of these military capabilities will discourage Taiwan's independence or, should the deterrence fail, allow a set of tailor-made military options against Taiwan and potential third-party military interventions, "according to a US Department of Defense report on China's military from 2019.

However, while China's hawks in the media could beat the drum of invasion, an internal Chinese military study, seen by CNN, found that the PLA considers an invasion of Taiwan extremely difficult.

"Taiwan has a professional military with a strong core of American-trained experts, "said Ia n Easton, author of" The Chinese Invasion Threat "and a research associate at the Project 2049 Institute, as well as" high defensible terrain. "

In his book, he described one Invasion of China as "the most difficult and bloodiest Missi on which he faces "the Chinese military.

  US-made CM-11 tanks will be fired from two 8-inch self-propelled guns on May 30 while military exercises will be conducted in southern Taiwan.

The plan to take over Taiwan

China's Taiwan invasion plan, known internally as the "Joint Island Attack Campaign" English: emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art … = 120 & lang = en. Initially, a coordinated mass bombardment of Taiwan 's vital infrastructure – ports and airfields – was to be carried out to paralyze the island' s military from an amphibious invasion, Easton and Sidharth said. English: www.comece.org/comece.taf?_function…&language=en Kaushal, a research associate at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies. [19659002] At the same time, the Chinese Air Force would cross Taiwan fly and try to dominate the airspace of the island. Once the PLA was satisfied, it had adequately impeded Taiwan's air and naval forces, Kaushal said that soldiers would begin invading the west coast of the island.

The island's rocky, mountainous eastern coast is considered too inhospitable and far from mainland China.

However, the amphibious invasion required to send troops to Taiwan could be the biggest hurdle for the PLA.

In its report to Congress for 2019, the US Department of Defense, China, which has one of the largest navies in Asia, said it had 37 amphibious transport docks and 22 smaller dropships, as well as all civilian ships that could take in Beijing.

That might be enough to occupy smaller islands such as those in the South China Sea, but an amphibious assault on Taiwan would likely require a larger arsenal – and "there is no indication that China is significantly upgrading its DropShip," it said the report.

  Chinese President Xi Jinping repeats a naval parade on Thursday in the South China Sea in April 2018.

Therefore, it is crucial for Beijing to neutralize Taiwan's Navy and Air Force in the early stages of an attack, Kaushal said.

"The Taiwanese Air Force would have to sink about 40% of the PLA's amphibious landing forces to make such a mission impossible," he said.

These are essentially only about 10 to 15 ships, he added.

If they could make it across the straits, the PLA would still have to find a suitable landing pad for their ships.

China's military would seek a landing pad near the mainland and a strategic city like Taipei with nearby port and airport facilities.

That leaves only 14 potential beaches left, Easton said – and that's not just the PLA who knows. For decades, Taiwanese engineers have dug tunnels and bunkers in potential landing zones along the coast.

The backbone of Taiwan's defense is also a fleet of ships capable of firing anti-ship cruise missiles over a range of ground rockets, as well as major mines and artillery on the coast.

"Taiwan's entire national defense strategy, including its war plans, is specifically designed to defeat a PLA invasion," Easton said.

Chinese troops could be dropped from the air, but it lacks paratroopers in the PLA it is unlikely.

If the PLA could take a position in Taiwan and assert itself with mainland troops against some 150,000 Taiwanese troops and more than 2.5 million reservists, it would have to penetrate the western mud of the island apartments and mountains with only narrow streets to assist them towards Taipei.

Finally, the mobilization of amphibious landing craft, ballistic missile launchers, fighters and bombers, and hundreds of thousands of troops would warn Taiwan in time for any attack, Kaushal said.

"It is extremely unlikely that the invasion could come out of the blue," added Kaushal.

  Four US-made F-16 Apache attack helicopters launch missiles during the 35th World War.
Washington was a longtime ally of the island, selling weapons to the Taiwanese government and providing implicit military protection from Beijing.
  Taiwanese President warns the world in the face of aggressive Beijing.

Easton said that the US is likely to intervene in Taiwan's favor at the moment Island and reassure American allies in the region who are also facing a resurgent PLA in the East and South China Sea.

Collin Koh Swee Lean, Research Associate at S. Rajaratnam School of International According to Studies in Singapore's Maritime Security Program, Taiwan's takeover would also have "immense political consequences" in the event of a successful invasion of China.

"It will probably mean that China is considered the villain in China's neighbor hood, which uses violence," he said. "It will alienate some regional partners, and the good will that China is trying to build over the years will fly away, and it will put China on a collision course with the US."

Taipei, however, is not a matter of course.

At the edges of Han Guang's massive exercises, Taiwan's Major General Chen pointed out the hundreds of spectators who had come to watch and support the island's military. The Republic of China is ready, "he said.

Taiwan takes no chances.

Serenity Wang of CNN contributed to this article.

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