Taipei, Taiwan – For the first time in more than half a century, the United States and Japan are expected to issue a joint statement this week on the security of Taiwan Street, following a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Sugar.
Although largely symbolic, the statement comes amid stern public warnings from senior U.S. officials about the threat of an attack by Beijing as a sign of growing concerns about the security of the democratically run island, which claims the island as its own.
Admiral John Aquilino recently told a Senate Armed Services Committee that taking Taiwan was a “first one” priority for the Chinese Communist Party, while US Asia-Pacific Commander Philip Davidson publicly said China could invade in the next six years.
Such fears may be justified by the threatening tone of the Chinese state media. Increasing the number of missions through PLA aircraft Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)
But on Taiwanese soil, people are not running to any of the island’s 117,000 working bomb shelters or listing massages.
After years of being threatened by Chinese military action, the island’s 23 million people have realized the stark contrast to Taiwan’s existence: aggression is not even closer as China’s military grows.
Some experts believe that much of the threat posed by the U.S. military could be a further reflection of the shift in U.S. perceptions of China amid growing ties between the world’s two economic giants.
“The (Chinese Communist Party’s) hope for unification with Taiwan has been clear for decades, and (President) Xi Jinping made it clear during his tenure that the use of force is on the table at the 2049 Institute in Arlington, Virginia.”
“This challenge is nothing new. Rather, it reflects an updated threat perception about the CCP and the PLA in the context of U.S. strategic competition with China. “
Bonnie Glazer, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), agreed.
He said the assessments were not based on intelligence, but on an analysis of the military balance between the United States and China.
‘Harder than D-Day’
China has stepped up its activities around Taiwan since 2001. Soi Ing-wen was elected the first president in.
While Taiwan’s complex relationship with China was seen as maintaining a largely stable position in Sociedad’s politics, abroad he insisted on a unique Taiwanese identity that differed from the historic ties with China.
Its politics and its administration’s close ties to the United States have angered Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its own without ever ruling the island.
As part of Taiwan’s pressure for more political space, Sai sought Strengthen Taiwan’s defense Increases defense budget, Stock reform, Improving its image from the historical association with the era of martial law and buying billions of dollars worth of weapons in the United States since taking power.
His administration has also seen a push to restore Taiwan’s internal arms production Locally made submarinesAccording to the Ministry of Defense, there are armored vehicles and military aircraft.
The ministry said in a statement to Al Jazeera that the CCP had not shied away from using force to attack Taiwan and that the Chinese military had continued its war preparations and efforts to increase the CCP’s use of force.
“There is always the risk of occupying Taiwan. Whether it is a sudden attack … or a full-scale attack, it will seriously affect the survival and development of the country. Therefore, the main task of the National Army is to support the defense operations of various military buildings and preparatory works. ”
Towards the end of March, the Ministry of Defense said that infiltrations into Taiwan’s ADIZ had become so frequent that they would no longer crawl to meet the aircraft each time and would instead be tracked with missiles. The ministry said the decision was made to determine whether these flights take up resources and increase the risk of miscalculations or accidents.
And while some, especially in the United States, have begun to speculate that a bilateral attack by the PLA is somewhere on the horizon, most experts have adopted a more measurable approach, emphasizing that the Taiwan invasion carries a significant risk for China.
According to Michael Soe, Taiwan’s defense minister and then defense minister from 2004 to 2006, first, his troops would have to cross 160 kilometers (100 miles) of Taiwan Sea with more than 100,000 troops and supplies.
Along the way, they will face air and naval bomb attacks and if they are able to land, strong local resistance will be put in place.
The former defense minister said, “If Taiwan is attacked by the PLA, more than two-thirds of young Chinese will take positive steps to resist the move.” “Taiwan is a free and democratic country. We want to have peaceful coexistence with China, but if we are attacked, we will have to respond with some defenses. Of course, there will be a lot of damage. Many young people will lose their lives, but the PLA is.
There are many more problems, including challenging areas, unpredictable weather patterns and even typhoons.
For Taiwanese expert and Taiwan Historian Bill Sharp, a former visiting scholar at the National Taiwan University, this kind of maneuver will be “more difficult than D-Day landing” because of Taiwan’s geography, rough waters and incredible weather patterns. Its coastline, he said, offers a suitable coastline for “landing armored personnel carriers, tanks, artillery or large numbers of offensive troops”.
In the meantime, a missile strike would wreak havoc on human life and infrastructure and increase the resistance of any attacking force.
“China would like to rule Taiwan physically as such,” he said. “As well as violently attacking their society, Taiwan’s willingness to fight will be forgiven.”
Such an attack on Taiwan’s closest allies could also trigger an attack United States And much is unknown for the leadership of Japan, China.
Although the United States is not guaranteed to defend the island, it has pledged to help maintain the island’s “adequate self-defense capabilities” as part of the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.
Glazer of CSIS said he did not believe China was still ready to take such drastic action.
“Every Chinese leader has said that reunion is inevitable,” he said. “China is not very different from its predecessors in dealing with Jinping,” he said, adding that China’s latest five-year plan calls for “peaceful development of cross-strait relations” with Taiwan.
Some experts believe that much of the threat assessment by the U.S. military could reflect internal changes in the U.S. by realizing China. As China’s relationship with the United States intensifies, so does the perception of threats to the PLA, according to Lee of the project’s 2099.
Others warned that U.S. concerns were no less than a reflection of concerns about its island chain strategy for the future of the Taiwanese people, a defensive strategy to control Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and other islands in the Pacific, and the U.S. mainland.
“The United States knows that if China takes an influential position in the Asia-Pacific region, it will have a detrimental effect on US national interests, so the United States will try to maintain the ‘first island discipline’. Taiwan is strategically located as part of the First Islands. If Taiwan loses to China, it could become a PLA naval base that threatens not only Japan but also the national security interests of the United States, “said Sosai, a former defense minister.
But experts say Taiwan’s remote islands could still be targeted.
“Occupying islands outside of Taiwan has always been on the agenda of PLA practice. Looking at the geography, the islands outside of Taiwan are scattered, with limited ability to support each other, ”said James Huang, a retired Taiwanese lieutenant colonel and military columnist.
China easily invaded its 240-hectare (593-acre) island of Pratas from the Hong Kong coast to blockade the Taiwanese port of Kehsung or the island of Taiping in the South China Sea – known as Eta Abu – in the Spritley Islands.
Huang said other relatively simple targets would include islands near the Chinese coast, including Liang Island and Gaodeng Island, which have some military personnel and make it difficult to replenish Taiwan’s main island.
Even though Taiwan will not face its resurrection scene in the near future, it still faces various challenges.
Huang said, “Taiwan is no longer China’s main target, but the United States.” In light of Taiwan’s biggest threat from China, it is certainly not the enduring military offensive.
He believes Beijing’s focus is crippling Taiwan through its economy and trade.
Faced with a weak economy and a strong neighbor on the sidelines, Taiwan has faced a significant brain drain in the non-Kavid era where thousands of people have chosen the path of more competitive opportunities there.
“Increasing Taiwan’s economic dependence on China is like boiling frog syndrome, the Taiwanese people will frustrate their watchdog,” he said.
In addition to regular air strikes, Taiwan was also subject to it Psychological warfare from Chinese influence operations In the business and political world, and from the United Nations to the International Civil Aviation Organization, there is constant pressure to occupy Taiwan outside of any international space.
Although the PLA captures fewer headlines than aircraft carrier flotillas, it could have a strong impact, so warnings.
“From me and many strategists, we understand that China knows that taking real military action will be the worst case scenario for them,” he said. “So, they are taking soft power measures, including cyber warfare, psychological warfare, media warfare by infiltrating Taiwan, and trying to create chaos in the press and divide them in order to influence and confuse the people.”
Glasser said the United States would do better to support Taiwan against many more such threats rather than determine the possibility of a Chinese attack.
“The right policy response in the United States is not only to intensify military conflict – we need to make our credibility credible by intervening in the PLA aggressors and imposing high costs – but we also need to strengthen US-Taiwan economic ties, help Taiwan diversify.” He said trade relations and building an alliance of countries together that would encourage Taiwan’s participation in the international community and speak in support of its democracy. “
There are already symptoms that can happen.
On Wednesday, China conducted a “war exercise” near Biden, which Taiwan conducted Sending a representative Taiwan of trusted veteran officials. On Thursday, they will meet with President Tsaiya.
A statement with Japan would be another part of that process.