Defence of Taiwan

Ananda

The Bunker Group
Nobody else with proven SSK wants to directly challange CCP. This'd why Taiwan has to go covert way. In sense it's have bit similarity with Israel done om finding defense partner that's doesn't want to directly challange Arab World, especially in 60's and 70"s.

The problem is their facility seems a standard one in size. Thus most likely only able to build Submarine in serial productions and not pararel productions. Thus if everything run smoothly (which's big if for new production), at most they can only bring 4 SSK within this decade. Not really a big challange even plus 2 existing one to give PLAN real problem in Taiwan Strait.
 

koxinga

Active Member
Great article. Thank you.

If memory serves; there was a plan years ago that saw the U.S. ordering SSKs from a foreign shipyard and later selling them to Taiwan. This fell through.
Bush era plan. The Taiwanese even maintained an office for this, but the idea was stillborn from the start. The shipyards knew very well that the intended recipients was Taiwan and no amount of sovereign guarantee from the US would prevent China from retaliating against them.

I always felt that it was less of a real promise but more of red herring to appease Taiwan and drag out the whole matter with nothing done.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
Bush era plan. The Taiwanese even maintained an office for this, but the idea was stillborn from the start. The shipyards knew very well that the intended recipients was Taiwan and no amount of sovereign guarantee from the US would prevent China from retaliating against them.

I always felt that it was less of a real promise but more of red herring to appease Taiwan and drag out the whole matter with nothing done.
Reportedly the Italians were willing to participate, but because they could only offer decommissioned Sauro-class boats (for refurbishment) Taiwan understandably did not accept the offer.

Also I recall that in the run up to the 2002 German elections, the opposition leader Stoiber indicated that he was in favour of selling submarines to Taiwan, a statement that was unprecedented amongst countries that manufacture SSKs. Similarly you can see a change in attitudes amongst the German Greens in being more willing to challenge China that they wouldn't have done 20 years ago. Bush's plan for Taiwanese submarines came at a time China was seen as fairly cuddly in a geopolitical sense, and the focus was on the Middle East.

So the project wasn't completely hopeless, but required events didn't come to pass (decent older submarines made available for refurbishment or a change of politcal leadership at the right time).
 

OPSSG

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Part 1 of 2: American Think tank nonsense on stilts

1. In his 1 July 2021 speech to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), General Secretary Xi Jinping reiterated the party’s commitment to what it calls “reunification” with Taiwan. Given the CCP’s hostility to the DPP’s unwillingness to recognise prior consensus arrived at with Taiwan’s KMT, I am not surprised that the PLA has upped the range and intensity of its gray-zone activities, including frequent intrusions into airspace and waters in close proximity to Taiwan. Moving along with this line of argument, where I believe defence of Taiwan is a Taiwanese responsibility:
(a) Daniel Davis declares that “it would frankly be immoral to force American men and women to die in their place for Taiwan’s defense.”​
(b) Elbridge Colby even argued [emphasis his]: “Washington *must* use *every* tool at its disposal to induce and yes even coerce Taiwan to do so [defend itself].”​

2. American think tanks — as hired opinion writers — are the gift that keeps giving to America. Michael Hunzeker argued that Taiwan has shelved its asymmetric defense strategy (one trick pony, for one scenario, the defence of the main island) in favor of high-tech capabilities (to provide a wider set of capabilities to deal with CCP aggression in various hybrid war scenarios) that in his misguided view will at best fail to defend the island against China and at worst serve to strengthen China’s resolve to retake what it views as a renegade province. If Taiwanese leadership followed his advice, they would demoralise their troops and army.

3. As an imaginary counter point, another American in another idiotic think tank believe that if the U.S. abandon strategic ambiguity, it will lead to a better outcome. Raymond Kuo argues that Washington’s policy of “strategic ambiguity” does not provide Taipei with a clear security commitment, even as American intervention is essential to any effective defense. Taiwan’s new strategy is therefore designed to maximize the likelihood of U.S. intervention, even as it reduces the longevity of its forces against Chinese attack — Raymond Kuo’s counterpoint is nonsense on stilts.

4. IMHO, it is unrealistic to expect that the typical American or European man-on-the-street (or even a Taiwanese political science professor):
(a) to be acquainted with the entire chain of arguments behind any conclusions, on the feasibility of a PLA plans for a Taiwan invasion; or​
(b) to understand any discussion on the correct way forward for future Taiwanese arms purchases to defend against an invasion that may never come.​

5. The two articles linked in Twitter above, depend on the reader’s lack of understanding of Taiwanese terrain and conscript culture to sell unworkable ideas on defending Taiwan.
(a) This is no different from past American efforts to build an Afghan Army. Just as Afghan Army leadership failed their troops, I believe that the current Taiwanese Army leadership is failing their conscripts — US DoD can’t advise Taiwan because they themselves don’t understand conscript management.​
(b) While key success factors in conscript management seem to be missing in the Taiwanese defence efforts, their mindset is changing for the better and it is not too late for Taipei to take war planning seriously — they need to be prepared to respond to a range of scenarios from troubled peace to war, instead of just being a one trick pony.​
 
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OPSSG

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Part 2 of 2: American Think tank nonsense on stilts

6. The US DoD should learn from Israel, Finland & Singapore to create systems that work, instead of trying to remake the ROC Army without input from experts at training and sustaining a conscript army. While we can agree that asymmetric capabilities are one part of the deterrence equation, to succeed Taiwan must:

(a) complement investments in these critical capabilities with equal focus on enhancing resilience, supporting civil-military integration; and​

(b) be seen building a strategy that includes defense-in-depth that makes proper use of mobilised reserves at a time of crisis.​

7. In this regard, President Tsai’s half hearted attempt to reform Taiwan’s reserve forces and integrate civilian and military agencies under the All-Out Defense Mobilization Agency and develop a counter strike capability has thus far failed to enhance Taiwan’s overall preparedness—only if they succeed can they strengthen deterrence. Correctly understood, American military-industrial base should make hay while the sun shines — given that Team Biden has ushered in the golden era of American arms sales to Taiwan. The US Congress has been notified of FMS sales to Taiwan that include the following:
  • M1A2 Abrams tank: Taiwan is acquiring 108 M1A2 tanks, the first of which will be delivered in 2023 ($2 billion).
  • M109 Paladin howitzer: The Biden administration has approved Taiwan’s request for 40 Vietnam-era M109 self-propelled howitzers and related equipment for delivery by 2025 ($750 million).
  • High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems: 11 mobile launchers and 64 associated missiles will be delivered by 2027 ($430 million).
  • Mark 48 torpedo: 18 Mark 48 heavy torpedoes will be acquired from the U.S. Navy ($180 million). The Tsai administration cites the sale of heavy torpedoes as evidence of U.S. support for the indigenous submarine program.
  • Harpoon: 100 Harpoon land-based coastal defense cruise missile launchers, 400 missiles, and 25 associated radars will be produced and sold to Taiwan, the first of which will arrive in 2025 ($2.3 billion). The Harpoon is a good example of a proven anti-ship missile small enough to be deployed in large numbers on mobile launchers.
  • MQ-9 Reaper: The United States has approved the sale of four MQ-9 high-altitude, long-endurance surveillance drones and associated fixed and mobile ground control equipment to enhance Taiwan’s situational awareness ($600 million).
  • FIM-92 Stinger: The United States has agreed to sell Taiwan 250 additional Stinger man-portable, shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missiles and associated launchers and training equipment, for use against aircraft, helicopters, and drones, to be delivered by 2026 ($220 million). The Stinger is another good example of a proven weapon small enough to deploy in large numbers.
  • Patriot PAC-3 life extension: Taiwan has invested more than $6 billon to procure and deploy 350 Patriot PAC-3 air defense missiles, which are now in place. The United States agreed in 2020 to an upgrade and life-extension program for these missiles ($620 million). Taiwan is reportedly seeking to purchase 300 of the latest version of the Patriot interceptor missile, which would bring the total number deployed in Taiwan to 650.
8. While the US DoD will continue to support Taiwan’s efforts in this regard, they need to consider the fact that Taiwan’s public do not want to be like the Ukrainians, stuck between a rock and a hard place, when surrender or escape from Taiwan, is an option. This is why I have said, Taipei is Kabul on steroids. More military muscle but ultimately weak minded. The mentally strong think and act like the Finnish Defence Forces. Their 2020 release of a 19 minute video is a perfect example of how to introduce modern-day conflict, to general public.
#Taistelukentta2020
 
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kato

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Also I recall that in the run up to the 2002 German elections, the opposition leader Stoiber indicated that he was in favour of selling submarines to Taiwan, a statement that was unprecedented amongst countries that manufacture SSKs.
I don't particularly recall Stoiber saying so. Friedrich Merz though, the actual opposition leader in 2000-2002 (Stoiber was opposition chancellor candidate), always lobbied fairly hard in the backrooms in favour of defence sales to Taiwan - or about anyone else who'd buy from German companies as long as the US would agree. Not that he could later "recall" any such action when it wasn't politically opportune.

It wasn't an unprecedented position in Germany either though, Gerhard Schröder - as in the guy who became German chancellor in 1998 - vehemently tried to lobby in favour of submarine sales to Taiwan in 1993.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member

Worth listening to. An ex military chap who has extensively wargamed several Taiwan/China scenarios on a professional basis discussing the issue.

A scenario he wargamed was the China taking one of the small islands without in a coup the msin blooshed and other countries being undecided how to respond. He points out how Japan getting involved changes things in that smaller countries who stand to lose a lot without gaining anything by taking sides, would be more willing to stick their heads above the parapet. As for China, he points out that the intense desire to "unify" Taiwan is seen as unfinished business from 1949 and that even if the Communist Party was replaced, taking Taiwan would still be a key national objective.

Lots of interesting points raised.
 
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Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member

In addition to the SDF's new bases in the Ryukyu Islands, Japan and the US are drawing up a plan to allow US Marines to set up temporary bases on the island chain in the event of a Taiwanese emergency, using assets such as the M142 HIMARS.

That would put a number of Chinese coastal bases/ports within range of the initial version of the PrSM missile, assuming the Marines used the most southwestern island of Yonaguni. The first upgrade to PrSM (planned in service from 2025) would allow for use against moving land/sea targets, and another one would increase the range even further, allowing for use from other islands and/or hitting other locations.

Chinese shipping trying to sail to the east or north of Taiwan could also come in range of mobile Naval Strike Missile launchers the Marines are planning to use.

Looks like plans for increasing the First Island Chain defences are coming along.
 
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Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member

Most Taiwanese, or 72.5 percent, are willing to fight for the nation in the event that China uses force to achieve unification, a poll released yesterday by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy found.

However, asked whether they would fight against China if it attacked after Taiwan declared independence, the percentage of respondents who said they would fight fell to 62.7 percent, while 26.7 percent said they would not fight and 10.6 percent had no response, foundation president Huang Yu-lin (黃玉霖) told a news conference in Taipei.

A breakdown of the responses by age group showed that young people are more willing to defend the nation against a Chinese invasion, he said.
It's one poll, but it seems to be consistent with the trajectory of earlier surveys, taking into account the ever growing percentage of the population that was born on Taiwan and was raised after the end of martial law. Certainly I'm not surprised by the findings that younger Taiwanese are the most willing to defend their home.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
An interesting proposal on what Taiwan could do to deter China. Whether it really works is uncertain.


''One key recommendation is for the U.S. and Taiwan to threaten to destroy facilities of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. -- the world's most important chipmaker and China's most important supplier -- if Beijing invades. Samsung, based in U.S. ally South Korea, would be the only alternative for cutting-edge designs. If TSMC went offline, "China's high-tech industries would be immobilized at precisely the same time the nation was embroiled in a massive war effort," the authors note. "Even when the formal war ended, the economic costs would persist for years," the paper suggests, adding that such a scenario could hurt the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party. The challenge, the authors argue, is to make such a threat credible. "An automatic mechanism might be designed, which would be triggered once an invasion was confirmed," they write. Despite a huge Chinese effort for a 'Made in China' chip industry, only 6% of semiconductors used in China were produced domestically in 2020," the paper notes.''

''The controversial approach stems from an acknowledgement that traditional deterrence strategies -- such as forward-deploying American warships in Taiwan's vicinity -- may not be enough to discourage Beijing from taking action in the Taiwan Strait. The People's Liberation Army's goal for a successful invasion is 14 hours, a Chinese analyst with connections in the PLA Navy told the authors, while the PLA projects the U.S. and Japan to need 24 hours to respond.''
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Well if China is only producing 6% of its semiconductor requirements, it sort of explains the desire to grab the world’s leading production source. Assuming a successful invasion could be pulled off in 14 hours and no allied opposition for 24 hours, that Chinese PLAN analyst better have an exit plan. A very risky window, especially when China has access to Taiwan chips with no restrictions (that I am aware of). The option of destroying production as a defence option, interesting. However, it won’t only be China up the river without a paddle should this option be employed.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
However, it won’t only be China up the river without a paddle should this option be employed.
If the world stands by and lets Taiwan fall (we'll have plenty of notice to prepare an intervention, no little green men will pop up in Taipei), I would support Taiwanese giving a big finger to all of us. We would deserve it.

Occupation by China will be horrible for people used to living in a full democracy. Some HKers can adapt to the latest security laws in HK because the city never had universal suffrage due to the functional constituencies holding the balance of power and appointed leaders. Sure the new laws are deeply oppressive, but it was becoming clear to anyone paying attention that China was going to cut off all meaningful freedoms after the 50 year autonomy period ended in 2047 anyway.

It would be worse in Taiwan, not just because far more freedoms would be lost but also because due to the population size and lopsided opposition to the CCP it would require a vast, heavily armed occupation force and quite brutal suppression of the inevitable protests and resistance that would follow.

Taiwan has helped the global economy for decades via its tech exports without asking for much. Countries like China would have used that leverage for blackmail. If we're treating Taiwanese trade as entirely transactional, Taiwanese have no obligation to keep said trade flowing in the event of Chinese occupation becoming inevitable.

If we want an uninterrupted flow of Taiwanese semiconductors, we should guarantee Taiwanese security. If we don't want to guarantee Taiwanese security, we cannot expect an uninterrupted flow of Taiwanese semiconductors. Simples.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member

Interesting article on the significant possibility of a long, drawn-out conflict over Taiwan. Whilst it is possible that China suffering a significant reversal could lead to domestic pressure which in turn causes a change of direction, given Xi's ruthless control over China today I'm not sure who's going to lead that pressure. It might just cause China to become more like North Korea, where the state doesn't try to hide its brutality from the people.

Equally a PLA occupation of Taiwan isn't automatically going to end the matter, as much as Beijing would like. There probably would be thousands, even tens of thousands, of American dead, most likely starting from a Pearl Harbour like "sneak attack" on Guam and elsewhere. Maybe also Japanese dead from attacks on Okinawa and Kyushu.

I quite agree with the assessment that continued/increased deterrence is required.


In other news the budget bill for the special weapon purchases has been passed by the Taiwanese legislative. There were only very limited cuts that are effectively symbolic, I think just in the millions of dollars.

Taiwan is also preparing to request a purchase of the M136 Volcano mine launching system from the US.

 
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ngatimozart

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There's a PLA strategist Liu Yazhou who was the Political Commissar of the PRC National Defence University. It is known as the "Cradle of Chinese Generals". He is outspoken, apparently somewhat arrogant, but is highly respected by the PLA leadership. He's also a Princeling, one who is the child "... of the Eight Elders and other First and Second Generation leaders who had been increasingly promoted in the party and were opposed to the efforts of reformers Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang to curb corruption and cronyism. Notable contemporary Princelings include Xi Jinping (son of Xi Zhongxun), China's top leader and Party General Secretary since 2012, and Bo Xilai (son of Bo Yibo), a disgraced former Party Committee Secretary of Chongqing who was also a member of the Politburo." In 2017 Liu Yazhou was forcibly retired for reigniting an affair with ex mistress Bai Ling who has upset the CCP. Recently he has disappeared and thought to be under arrest. He is an expert in US and western military capabilities.

Liu has written that the PRC cannot obtain victory in an open conflict against Japan or the US over Taiwan because either nation has choices that the PRC doesn't. They can choose to fight, to stand back or to withdraw. The PRC has only one choice and that is to fight and it will lose. He says that the Japanese would win a conflict in the Eastern Seas. He believes in the eventual recovery of Taiwan, but has said that Xi Jinping is not a leader who is capable of the job. There is a book he wrote that expands upon this but I cannot find any English translations. I have only skimmed the article, but it does give a view from an outspoken PLA strategist.

The article below has been translated into English and is his assessment on the Japanese Sino war.

The 70th Anniversary of the Victory of the War of Resistance against Japan

21/1/22: Edited to correct error of fact.
 
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Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
Liu has written that the PRC cannot obtain victory in an open conflict against Japan or the US over Taiwan because either nation has choices that the PRC doesn't. They can choose to fight, to stand back or to withdraw. The PRC has only one choice and that is to fight and it will lose. He says that the Japanese would win a conflict in the Eastern Seas. He believes in the eventual recovery of Taiwan, but has said that Xi Jinping is not a leader who is capable of the job. The article below has been translated into English and gives his thoughts on the idea. There is another book he wrote that expands upon this but I cannot find any English translations. I have only skimmed the article, but it does give a view from an outspoken PLA strategist.

The 70th Anniversary of the Victory of the War of Resistance against Japan
Are you sure you posted the right article? The one I read doesn't mention a modern war but is a rather snide piece on Japan and Japanese people, including claiming that China doesn't claim Japanese territory.
 

ngatimozart

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Are you sure you posted the right article? The one I read doesn't mention a modern war but is a rather snide piece on Japan and Japanese people, including claiming that China doesn't claim Japanese territory.
I only skimmed it quickly and haven't had the chance to have a thorough read of it. Of course he's going to say unkind things about the Japanese - what do you expect after the actions and conduct of the IJA & IJN in China from the mid 1920s to 1945. The rape of Nanjing gives enough reason from the CCP perspective.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
I only skimmed it quickly and haven't had the chance to have a thorough read of it. Of course he's going to say unkind things about the Japanese - what do you expect after the actions and conduct of the IJA & IJN in China from the mid 1920s to 1945. The rape of Nanjing gives enough reason from the CCP perspective.
I mean it makes no comment on Xi Jinping's inability to successfully take Taiwan, the difficulty of attacking Taiwan or the advantages the US/Japan have.

It's just the usual propaganda about how wonderful China is and how horrible Japan is today, dressed up with historical discussions, making the usual demands for Japan to "apologise". He even makes a disgusting comment about how Japanese civilians acted after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, turning their quiet dignity against them, likening them to murderous soldiers. Clearly he's a nasty little piece of work.
 
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ngatimozart

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I mean it makes no comment on Xi Jinping's inability to successfully take Taiwan, the difficulty of attacking Taiwan or the advantages the US/Japan have.

It's just the usual propaganda about how wonderful China is and how horrible Japan is today, dressed up with historical discussions, making the usual demands for Japan to "apologise". He even makes a disgusting comment about how Japanese civilians acted after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, turning their quiet dignity against them, likening them to murderous soldiers. Clearly he's a nasty little piece of work.
Having now had the opportunity of reading it in full, I have to agree with that criticisms that it doesn't address the claims that I have made. I will edit my original post to reflect that.

I can only surmise that this translation is a translation of only part of a series of articles, or that my original source for the material was in error, both of which are quite possible. Ah the problems of dealing in languages one doesn't speak or read and inability to access primary sources.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
Still it's a useful exercise in understanding the man behind the opinion. I remember when Hu Jintao came to power, the usual suspects said "oh, he's going to reform politically because he wasn't involved in the 1989 crackdown". Or Xi Jinping for that matter, either because his father was purged at one time or he'd been partly educated abroad.
 
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