Defence of Taiwan


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I am not sure how valid is this observation, but it bears discussion

To stop the landing, it would make sense to mine the beaches, and use mobile response forces to flood troops when needed. I would also pre-sight the beaches and pound it from afar (an equally complicated task now given PLA's increasing effective killchain) rather than try to do WWI style trenches.

I supposed they were inspired by the Urkrainians and their sandbags in Odessa but they need to decide what works for them and what does not. PLA is not exactly the Black Sea Fleet and they have been specifically training for an opposed landing for years.

Although largely for propoganda purposes, observations of PLA training exercises have more or less identified PLA amphib landing doctrine and shows that they are keenly aware of the need to eliminate shore based threats with a combination of artillery bombardment and landing heavy armour as part of the initial wave.



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Part 4 of 4: Pelosi to visit Taiwan on 2-3 Aug 2022

10. Since the Sunflower Movement the political center has shifted to a pro-Taiwan position that does not accept that Taiwan is a part of China.
(a) This has moved the DPP into the power position, put the KMT on the margins, and the TPP trying to come up with a clear stance of its own, prior to the 2024 Presidential Election in Taiwan (where Tsai’s VP William Lai Ching-te is the front runner). In the past, Lai has referred to himself as a “pro-independence worker” for Taiwan.​
(b) Most Americans supporting Pelosi’s visit don’t even know about ‘The Gray Rhino’ in the room this time. As Tsai’s successor, VP William Lai Ching-te, is likely to want to force China’s hand & declare independence, once Tsai steps down at the next election. A gray rhino is a 2-ton animal, with a scary horn that is charging at us. It’s a metaphor for the things that go wrong that is actually avoidable.​
(c) Long run consequences for Taiwan is important. Pelosi raised China-Taiwan tensions at a time when tension is already excessive. She damaged Xi Jinping when he is ensuring his third term and is under attack for being weak on Taiwan. This forces him to take especially strong ongoing measures. She raised the baseline for future military signaling, which to show seriousness will now have to start with exercises completely surrounding Taiwan and likely blockading it.​
(d) We should take note what Bonnie Glaser wrote: “The actions that China is taking now are intended to drastically shift the status quo in BJ's favor. Think 2012 Senkakus and 2015-16 South China Sea. Many will look back on this visit and say that Taiwan paid too high a price.”​
(e) What Pelosi didn't do was to strengthen Taiwan or US support for Taiwan in any way. Trump, Pompeo and Biden already pushed that support to a point that jeopardized the 1979 understanding which is the foundation of Taiwan's enjoyment of peace, prosperity and democracy. The coming period of tension to the 2024 Presidential Election in Taiwan may be bumpy. It will be important for American and Chinese officials to remain in direct contact; and for each side to exercise discipline, so as to focus on preserving peace and stability in Taiwan Strait.​

I am not sure how valid is this observation, but it bears discussion
11. Clearly, from the pictures released, Taiwan’s annual "Han Kuang" exercise has staged PR displays that is devoid of military logic (or tactics). Given the Pelosi visit, it is expected that the exercise just prior to her visit have a stronger than usual PR focus. But no competent army would be silly enough to build a trench under a bridge span, with pretty sand bags for walls (when a wood frame to prevent collapse in heavy rains is more practical). The silly thing is having it located only about hundred metres from the beach.

12. As expected, Beijing unleashed a number of measures to punish Taiwan as a result of the trip. The scale and range of these retaliations are bigger than before but as many experts point out, they are not really new tactics. The Taiwanese themselves were rather calm about the Pelosi visit, and how this reflects how Taiwanese perspectives were often neglected regarding trip. While the Taiwanese appreciate the support and solidarity from a high-level official like Pelosi, they also have concerns about the level and extent of China’s retaliation, in this Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis.

13. As others have noted, Friedman is right about how stupid a move this is. There is no rational reason for it and it harms Taiwan. It really is a comment on the extreme political dysfunction in the US and the fundamental American failure to understand China. Not sure how true but a commentator reported that Pelosi said she will only not go to Taiwan if Biden publicly discourages her and she can blame him.

14. As much as I pity Taiwan, it’s pretty impressive that China, within hours of the Pelosi visit has used every element of DIME to express displeasure:
(a) Diplomacy — Not only has China has lodged a demarche to the US White House National Security Council and the Department of State on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, China’s MFA has coordinated responses with other countries like Pakistan, North Korea and even Lesotho.​
(b) Information — China’s MFA statement says Pelosi's visit "in any form and for any reason is an escalation of official exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan and a major political provocation." There is also an active disinformation campaign and cyber attacks.​
(c) Military — The Chinese:​
(i) say the PLA will "launch a series of targeted military operations to counter" the actions of the U.S. and the DPP authorities, 16 minutes after Pelosi landed in Taipei;​
(ii) scale of exercises are so large and in so many areas that Taiwan port authorities asked ships to find alternative routes and avoid areas of China's announced drills around the island. Commenting on the six exclusion zones, M. Taylor Fravel said: “It’s quite clear they’re going to be simulating how they might blockade Taiwan in the future." Scale and depth reflect the fact the PLA is today a much more modern, capable organisation with the capacity to project power further out; and​
(iii) flew 27 PLA military aircraft into Taiwan's ADIZ and they crossed over the median line of the Taiwan Strait. These were comprised of 16x Su-30 and 6x J-11. To put this in perspective, when Sen. Tammy Duckworth visited in May and met with President Tsai the PLA launched a 50-sortie incursion. This is a new normal, as China's gray zone tool kit gets a workout.​
The silver lining is that Beijing’s overreaction to Pelosi’s visit might result in Taiwan and other countries, like Australia, Canada, and Japan accelerating their own plans to reduce their dependence on China; and​
(d) Economics — Chinese customs suspended imports of Taiwanese citrus fruits, chilled white scallops and frozen mackerel, extending the list of banned items to more than 1,000 products as cross-Strait relations have deteriorated in recent years. Chinese mainland will halt natural sand exports to Taiwan — sand is critical for concrete, critical for the construction industry, a critical political support base for the DPP. Ditto for some of the agricultural export bans.​
15. The Korea Times says officials in Seoul are all too wary and nervous over the timing of Pelosi's visit.

"Amid the deepening U.S.-China rivalry, China has threatened military actions and it could invoke a U.S. response in kind, which would eventually affect South Korea, because of the South's alliance with the U.S.," director of the U.S.-China Policy Institute at Ajou University Kim Heung-kyu was cited as saying in the publication.​
16. Far too many American think tanks make theoretical assessments justifying the need for high levels of spending for military deterrence but show no awareness of the need for American political reassurance, to China, as well.

(a) Stable US-China relations are vital for regional peace and prosperity. But I have given up hope that the US and China can work out a modus vivendi, exercise self-restraint and refrain from actions that will further escalate tensions. The Pelosi visit was not just a re-run of Newt Gingrich's visit a generation earlier, which occurred during an entirely different relationship between the two countries. Pelosi’s political stunt that took a dangerous situation and made it more dangerous.​

(b) Thanks to Nancy Pelosi, the prior Team Biden, attempt at a guard-rails strategy for China is firmly thrown into the dustbin of history. She is seen as so toxic, the President of South Korea, will only take a call with her and refuses to meet her, as he is on ‘holiday,’ in Seoul. Keeping in mind that part of President Yoon's policy platform when he ran for president was to strengthen ties with the US.​
(c) Taiwanese troops on 3 Aug 2022 fired flares at 2 Chinese UAVs which penetrated Kinmen County's airspace, marking the first time PLA UAVs have appeared over the county.​
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Part 1 of 2: How intimidation & a naval blockade of Taiwan might work

1. The surge in PLA(N) ships and PLAAF aircraft, and their aggressive posture, is full of potential for incidents with US and Taiwanese forces. Recent behaviour of PLA towards Australian and US aircraft and vessels provides a baseline for their approach.

2. China did the same in the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis; if the pattern repeats, there will be other missile launches prior to the 2024 election in Taiwan. Soon we will see idiots that equate China & Taiwan with Russia & Ukraine, and say that in the latter war occurred due to inadequate deterrence, and then stupidly advocate making Taiwan into a security ally. This is a recipe for war. Idiots think this way because they are oblivious to the prior assurances the US has made to China regarding Taiwan, ignorant of the understanding reached that made Sino-US normalization possible in 1972.

3. The Global Times, a state-run nationalist tabloid, quoted an anonymous Chinese military expert describing the drills as a “new beginning” for PLA activities around Taiwan, which would “regularly take place on Taiwan’s doorstep.”
(a) Beijing will now use Pelosi’s visit to further other objectives, expanding and normalizing its military and paramilitary presence in the Taiwan Strait, including on the Taiwan side.​
(b) Change the status quo using a crisis, just as in 2012 Senkaku crisis. Only with wisdom, can armed conflict be avoided but the chicken-hawks in the GOP and the Democratic Party, are collectively, too stupid to forge a path forward.​

4. Taiwan is continously under multiple wide spread Cyber Attacks that include banking systems, & DDOS attacks on Ministerial, Presidential and defence websites. Even road signs and signs in "7/11" shops are reading anti-American Slogans in Simplified Chinese (when Taiwan uses the traditional character set).

5. Countries who reaffirmed 'one China' policy amid the crisis over Taiwan following US House speaker Pelosi's visit include:
  • Russia
  • Iran
  • Pakistan
  • North Korea
  • Belarus
  • Cuba
  • Cambodia
  • Thailand
  • Myanmar's Junta govt
Also according to Nikkei Asia, some of the "suspensions" only come into force in 2027.

So I have to question as to how much of a negative impact these latest Chinese trade restrictions will have.
6. I see coordinated activity across a range of tools of statecraft by China — so I don’t think you are correct in this case.

(a) Some of these trade restrictions are even more thoughtful than others and the economic sanctions seem tailored well to target DPP constituencies.
(b) The PLA will use this opportunity iron out issues with its joint command and control. They are decades behind the west in these kinds of operations. But inadvertent military escalation as PLA demonstrate their thinking on a naval blockade of Taiwan, is a concern; with the exacerbation of security dilemma dynamics guaranteed.​
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I see coordinated activity across a range of tools of statecraft by China — so I don’t think you are correct in this case.
I was quoting Nikkei Asia, which I think is accepted as a reliable source. Nikkei could be wrong, of course, but I think it's reasonable to refer to their articles.

(a) Some of these trade restrictions are even more thoughtful than others and the economic sanctions seem tailored well to target DPP constituencies.
Assuming that the sanctions come into force immediately/shortly, I expect that the Taiwanese government will hand out subsidies to cover the losses or help sell them in other markets, whether domestic or foreign. So I doubt they will have much political effect (I think it was accepted the KMT were likely to win a majority in the local elections in any event).
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Part 2 of 2: How intimidation & a naval blockade of Taiwan might work

7. China’s Ambassador Qin Gang cites four main reasons for PLA exercises:
  • Taiwan moving toward independence
  • Tsai steadily de-Sinicizing the island
  • US treats Taiwan as a sovereign state through visits & arms sales
  • US uses Taiwan as a strategic pawn in containment

8. Correctly understood, the Pelosi trip does not alter the US “one China” policy that acknowledges but does not endorse or support Beijing’s position.
(a) The trip & reactions underscores an adjustment to the dual deterrence approach (often couched as “strategic ambiguity”) the US takes in handling cross strait relations. The point is to create enough uncertainty about US involvement in any Taiwan strait crisis such that both Beijing and Taipei would think twice about acting provocatively.​
(b) With Taipei’s moderation under the Tsai administration, it seems that Washington currently sees the provocation as coming from Beijing & the Americans are shifting the implementation of its longstanding policies accordingly.​
(c) These, of course, come on top of PRC military activity near Japan (including in conjunction with Russia) & in the East China Sea, continuing militarization of artificial features China occupies in the South China Sea, in what the US, Australia, & Canada allege are unsafe and unprofessional conduct by Chinese military craft.​

I was quoting Nikkei Asia, which I think is accepted as a reliable source. Nikkei could be wrong, of course, but I think it's reasonable to refer to their articles.
9. Thanks for the clarification — as I see it, the sanctions are done with precision.

10. Given that I am not sure too, I said ‘I don’t think you are correct.’ It’s a debatable point, until more facts are known about the latest round of sanctions.
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