On Friday, Taiwan’s best military brass gathered in a safe room inside the walls of a vast Defense Ministry fortress to prepare for the war with China.
Computer screens in front of them could show an island nation’s F-16 fighter flying in the air, a precision-guided cruise missile blasting a port on the west coast of China, and a Tuo-class corvette. There is sex. Called the “Aircraft Carrier Killer”, it was deployed to pick high-value targets in the Taiwan Strait.
But outside the gated grounds, everything was quiet. Welcome to Taiwan’s Virtual War Room. Here, this week, decorated generals and officers are being tested for the most chilling scenarios, from full-scale aggression to cyberattacks and blockades of critical infrastructure.
The highly categorized annual “Han Kuang” military exercise is under the shadow of a very realistic threat from Taiwan’s hostile superpower neighbors.
In recent months, there has been a warm rhetoric rise from Beijing, consistent with intensifying air and navy activity around the island 110 miles from the Chinese coast.
The Chinese Air Force has been dispatched to Taiwan’s air defense identification zone almost every day since September last year, setting a record high for 25 fighters, including nuclear bombers, on April 12.
The daily jet barks warned the United States and neighboring Japan and warned Washington to warn China that forcing Taiwan to be seized was a “serious mistake.”
There are no signs of an imminent Chinese attack, but China seems to be taking the next step. Take advantage of the long-promised threat of forcibly annexing islands as needed.
The Chinese Communist Party has never ruled Taiwan. Democracy of 23 million people functions like any other country with its own government and military, but claims Taiwan as its own territory.
Military strategists have warned that Taiwan cannot afford to practice coastal protection.
China could invade within the next six years as Beijing rapidly intensifies its challenge to the U.S. Army in the Indo-Pacific, and Admiral Philip Davidson predicts the retirement of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Army in March. It is long.
His warning could weigh heavily on the Taiwanese army chief in an eight-day Hankuang war game. There, computer simulations switch between traditional beach landing simulation threats and aerial attacks on electronic and psychological warfare.
In July, the military will move to live-fire exercises. By landing fighters on the highway and testing tank and artillery combat readiness, we plan more obvious show of force activities to thwart Beijing’s invasion.
Taiwan is not only important to the global semiconductor supply chain, but also a strategic point of international trade routes. Taiwan’s rule will give China its coveted open access to the Pacific coastline, Presents the challenge of Washington’s free and open Indo-Pacific strategy.
World leaders are also forced to consider the worst-case scenarios of China’s aggression that could involve the Indo-Pacific region and the West in an armed conflict with China.
Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said this month that “if a war is needed, Taiwan will fight the war,” and vowed to “protect himself until the last day.”
However, Rupert Hammond Chambers, chairman of the US-Taiwan Business Association, said he had not foreseen an imminent “D-Day style” invasion.
“My own view of what is happening now is that China’s operations around the island are primarily focused on psychological operations,” he said.
This includes “increasing pressure on Taiwanese people” “Test the spirit of the US government” during the transition to the Biden administration.
Analysts have warned that China could target Taiwan’s infrastructure and economy or cut off its energy supply.
“For me, their roads are much more blocked and could rob remote islands. This is a big boost to Ante, but it’s not really a shooting in Taiwan,” he said. It was.
“I think it raises far more political issues for the United States and Japan about how to get involved than to start mobilizing troops.”
Taiwanese defense analyst Kitch Liao said this week’s training to train the Joint Chiefs of Staff against a hypothetical enemy adviser and a retired officer’s “red team” trains wartime decision makers and combat pressure. He said it would be the key to predicting.
This exercise also protects Taiwan’s Air Force and deploys the Navy ” [China’s] An amphibious landing group, “said Liao.
Oriana Skylar Mastro, a Chinese military expert at Stanford University, said Beijing did not like the current state of the aggression, but warned the international community.Probably brings a “sense of urgency” to take timely steps to avoid military action within 6-7 years.
China’s confidence is boosted by restructuring and modernization of the army under the Xi Jinping president, she said urged a more bold strategic calculations for the ability to seize Taiwan.
“Under the Xi Jinping, simply from the fact that interfere with the independence, change of thinking I think that there was to be to promote the progress towards unity,” said Masutoro Mr. said. “He gave the impression that this would be part of his legacy.”
According to Pentagon data, China’s defense costs are about 25 times higher than Taiwan’s, with 1,030,000 active ground troops, less than Taiwan’s 88,000. It is widely believed that Taiwan can only withstand a full attack for days, not weeks, without external support.
However, despite its military superiority, the Chinese military, which we remember recently, is rarely tested on the battlefield. “The main factor that pays attention to the Chinese is that they don’t know how well they will work,” Mastro said.
China also said it did not want to risk a “rejuvenation process” or economic growth through prolonged conflicts and potential sanctions, citing the long-term goal of the Communist Party building its country into a global and military force. did.
“I think the good news is that China doesn’t want to do this right now, so they They didn’t feel 100% ready, so they were pushed by a few low-level subtleties, “she said.
Prominent local media coverage of military exercises in Taiwan has created little alertness among the public, which has endured largely decades of China’s threatening tactics.
“There is general consensus on the existence and nature of the threat,” said Liao, but said the public was controversial about the military’s ability to repel aggression.
While many were willing to protect Taiwan, there was little awareness of the military bureaucracy, but there was a comprehensive view that the island’s largest arms supplier, the United States, would help. .. “The belief in US intervention is very strong,” he said.