Japan, Koreas, China and Taiwan regional issues

Ranger25

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BBC reported that South Korean fighters fired warning shots at Russian military aircraft for intruding into South Korea’s territorial airspace on 23 July 2019, Reuters reported citing the Korean Ministry of National Defense. In this case, warning shots were fired by the Koreans, who used F-15Ks and KF-16s to intercept the Russian A-50 command and control aircraft above the East Sea (near South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo, claimed by Japan and South Korea, but occupied by South Korea since 1954). The first warning rounds were fired at AM local time and then the 2nd in a matter of 20 plus minutes. This incident is unusual, as both Japan and Korea routinely intercept Russian or Chinese aircraft that intrude into their respective air defence identification zones, without much incident. In this unusual case, the Russian aircraft entered the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ), along with two Chinese H-6s who also entered the KADIZ, after which they met up with the two Russian Tu-95 aircraft — which is a hallmark of joint planning by the Russians and Chinese forces.

"The South Korean military took tactical action including dropping flares and firing a warning shot," the defense ministry statement said (see CNN report: South Korea fires warning shots at Russian military aircraft). This is a deliberate act by Ivan, as penetrating to a point of requiring the Koreans to fire 10 rounds (as warning shots) to turn away is serious, but to do it twice (for the Koreans to fire another 280 rounds) seems to be a test of Korean resolve (and I suspect, may be used to collect intelligence and on the standby follow forces available at tiered alertness on the Korean side).

Analysts said the mission may have been designed by Russia to draw out South Korean and Japanese aircraft for intelligence gathering purposes. "This mission will have given them a comprehensive map of the (South Korean) national air defense system," said Peter Layton, a former Royal Australian Air Force pilot and analyst at the Griffith Asia Institute. Moscow furiously denied Seoul's account of the encounter, claiming that South Korean military jets had dangerously intercepted two of its bombers during a planned flight over neutral waters. But in a statement, Japan's Ministry of Defense backed up South Korea's claims, saying the A-50 had flown over the islands and that Tokyo had scrambled fighters to intercept.

Edit: In other news, Korea is to launch a new version of a large-deck landing ship. This secession was made during a 12,July 2019 meeting presided over by Gen. Park Han-ki, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “The plan of building the LPH-II ship has been included in a long-term force buildup plan,” said a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs, speaking on condition of anonymity and using an acronym for “landing platform helicopter.” The new LPH is to be refit to displace 30,000 tons, double the capacity of the previous two LPHs — Dokdo and Marado — with 14,500 tons of displacement. The carrier-type vessel is also bigger than the 27,000 tons associated with Japan’s Izumo-class helicopter destroyers.

Sounds like the ROK will be shopping for the F35B soon.
 

ngatimozart

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OPSSG

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Taiwan’s defence budget has increased to TWD433.1 billion (US$13.1 billion), a significant increase. In addition, see Shepard Media’s article and Taiwan unveils new mortar carrier based on CM-32 8x8 armored vehicle | August 2019 for details from Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition (TADTE) in Taipei. 2019 TADTE also showcases a new trailer-mounted multiple launcher of the Jian Hsiang" (劍翔) suicide drone. This looks like an interesting implementation of IAI’s Harpy loitering munition. The Jian Hsiang shown at TADTE 2019 has been developed by the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), which has a USD2.54 billion five-year contract to develop and manufacture a fleet of such weapons. The Israeli connection to Taiwanese weapons development is clear as Taiwan’s Hsiung Feng 1 cruise missile is really a locally made Gabriel Mark 5.

As Shepard Media reported, Taiwan’s Army estimates it will purchase 250 Cloud Leopard Mark IIs in the coming three years. This will compliment Taiwan’s purchase of 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks to increase mobility of their army in their active defense strategy.

At TADTE 2019, in Taipei, a Cloud Leopard II mortar carrier fitted with an 81mm mortar was displayed. With an electro-servo control system and automatic fire control modules, it can provide rapid fire effects for mortars of both 81mm and 120mm calibre. Many features are added to the Cloud Leopard Mark IIs. For example, the UAV Forward Observation System developed by the 202nd Arsenal can be integrated. This UAV offers real-time imagery at ranges of up to 6km, thus providing battlefield situation awareness for the gun crew. Furthermore, a Panoramic Vehicle Imaging System (PAVIS) enables a 360° all-round view for visible, IR and fused images. This mast-mounted equipment increases situation awareness by day or night. While I like PAVIS, I am not a fan of the 81mm mortar. Given Taiwan’s threat matrix, they should have implemented an 120mm mortar solution, to increase weight of fire, for the Cloud Leopard II mortar variant.

Besides the mortar variant, the development team plans to install a turret containing a 105mm gun on future Cloud Leopard IIs. Cooperating with 202nd Arsenal, two 105mm Mobile Gun System prototypes will roll out no later than Q4 of 2024.

Meanwhile, mass production the Cloud Leopard armed with a Mk44 Bushmaster II 30mm chain gun commenced in 2019. It is estimated more than 280 vehicles will be ordered to provide high mobility and greater firepower for mechanised infantry. The CM34 carries 420 rounds of standard 30mm AP, HEI and TP ammunition. As well as the weapon system, the 30mm Chain Gun Turret System offers surveillance capabilities.

In September 2018 Jane’s also reported that the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defence (MND) has placed an order for one landing platform dock (LPD) vessel. The contract with local shipbuilder CSBC Corporation was awarded in April 2018, as the first in a planned class of four ships. It will have an overall length of 153 m, an overall beam of 23 m, and a hull draught of 6 m — with 1 helicopter landing spot. It can attain a maximum speed of 21.5 kt and a range of 12,500 n miles at the economical cruising speed of 13 kt. “In terms of design, we have taken references from the San Antonio class,” said the representative, pointing to the vessel’s superstructure. “We will evaluate the performance of the first ship after it is commissioned and use this experience to decide on changes for the next three ships.”
 
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OPSSG

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In early August 2019, US President Trump told the press that he had approved a F-16V arms sale to Taiwan and he indicated his confidence that the US Senate would pass the US$8 billion weapons deal for 66 F-16Vs. These 66 Block 70 aircraft will come with 70 GE F110 engines (in contrast with Taiwan's current Block 20s which are running on PW F100). Trump said that the deal will bring a lot of jobs to the US, indicating his confidence that Taiwan will use the F-16 "very responsibly." On 20 Aug 2019, the US State Department approved the sale of 66 F-16 fighters to Taiwan. Read more at US approves sale of 66 F-16 fighters to Taiwan

Janes has also reported that Taiwan's Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) is scheduled to unveil the first prototype Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) in September 2019, when ground testing is due to begin, with the first test flight set for June 2020. AIDC has been commissioned to design and build 66 AJTs by 2026. They will replace the ageing AT3 trainers and F5 fighters.
 

ngatimozart

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In early August 2019, US President Trump told the press that he had approved a F-16V arms sale to Taiwan and he indicated his confidence that the US Senate would pass the US$8 billion weapons deal for 66 F-16Vs. These 66 Block 70 aircraft will come with 70 GE F110 engines (in contrast with Taiwan's current Block 20s which are running on PW F100). Trump said that the deal will bring a lot of jobs to the US, indicating his confidence that Taiwan will use the F-16 "very responsibly." On 20 Aug 2019, the US State Department approved the sale of 66 F-16 fighters to Taiwan. Read more at US approves sale of 66 F-16 fighters to Taiwan

Janes has also reported that Taiwan's Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) is scheduled to unveil the first prototype Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) in September 2019, when ground testing is due to begin, with the first test flight set for June 2020. AIDC has been commissioned to design and build 66 AJTs by 2026. They will replace the ageing AT3 trainers and F5 fighters.
It had to happen and the US is required by law to provide Taiwan with suitable weapons for it's defence. I would posit that the F-16V would meet that definition. Beijing will start screeching and screaming, however they really have to learn that the people of Taiwan made their choice in 1949 and do not want to be ruled by the present govt in Beijing. To much bully boy crap coming out of Beijing.
 

OPSSG

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.., the people of Taiwan made their choice in 1949 and do not want to be ruled by the present govt in Beijing.
Minor correction, on the Taiwanese being able to make a choice in 1949. I note that the Kuomintang (KMT) ruled Taiwan under martial law until the late 1980s, with the stated goal of being vigilant against Communist infiltration and KMT led reunification with the mainland. Taiwan ceased to be a single-party state in 1986/1987 and political reforms beginning in the 1990s loosened the KMT's grip on power. IMO, the Taiwanese really only had a choice only after 1986 — kindly note that Chiang Ching-kuo, son of Chiang Kai-shek, remained as President of Taiwan from 1978 until his death in 1988.

Taiwanese domestic politics under Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is toxic, so I am not sure if they can agree on who is the enemy — the opposition alliance led by the KMT or China under Xi Jinping. Or it could be that the DPP is it’s own worse enemy, as Taiwan is set to hold its presidential election in January 2020 amid heightened tensions with China. See: China-friendly Taiwan mayor beats Foxconn's Gou in opposition's presidential primary - Reuters

KMT’s then leader Ma Ying-jeou, who served as Taiwan’s President from 2008 to 2016, met Xi Jinping on 5 November 2015, in Singapore, for a new page in history for cross-strait relations. That 2015 KMT and CCP rapprochement is gone with the DPP in power. There is background on why things are the way it is between China and Taiwan. China under Xi Jinping has tried, within certain parameters, to accommodate Taiwanese aspirations. There are real consequences to DPP rule (or mis-rule, depending on who you ask in Taiwan) that has an impact the geo-politics of North East Asia.
 
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OPSSG

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Tanner Greer has written a poorly researched article in the Foreign Affairs in Sept 2019 titled ‘Taiwan’s Defense Strategy Doesn’t Make Military Sense: But It Does Make Political Sense.’ While I agree that Taiwan needs to up its game for defence procurement (against a PLA invasion scenario), Greer’s article demonstrates his ignorance of real and valid Taiwan’s concerns — with his objection to Taiwan refreshing their submarine force — including their fear of their SLOCs being choked and thereafter restricted in their ability to trade by the PLA(N), from distant seas. The PLA(N) is on the verge of or has acquired a blue water capability. IMO China does not have to fight in the Taiwan Straits anymore, or invade, to coerce Taiwan, as the PLA(N) is able to deploy to distant seas to protect their interests.

The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defence (MND) expects to retire its F-5 and Mirage 2000v5 fighters in the early 2020s and is in the process of buying 66 F-16Vs (see: US risks China's anger after sealing $8bn deal to sell Taiwan 66 fighter jets | Taiwan | The Guardian). MND is also moving to modernize its old F-16A/Bs, but any fighter has a fixed airframe life, measured in flight hours. Modernization is a medium term solution, not a long term one, and does nothing to address the growing numeric imbalance across the strait. With 24 F-16A/Bs out of service for upgrades at any point, 16 in the US for training at Luke AFB, and 30% of the remaining machines (32) unavailable for other maintenance, Taiwan’s fleet of 146 F-16s shrinks to about 74 F-16A/Bs in operational service. If equivalent rates hold true for the 71 locally built and upgraded F-CK-1C/Ds, that means about 50 Hsiung Ying fighters, for a total available fleet of just 124 fighters.
 
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ngatimozart

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Another missile threat from NK. One really has to wonder when Japan will begin a nuclear bomb program. Between China, NK, and a worsening relationship with SK combined with the antics of the Trump administration, it would be understandable.

North Korea fires ballistic missile built to be launched from submarine into Japan's EEZ | The Japan Times
I don't know if they will. There would be significant domestic debate about it and I am very unsure about the public sentiment on this issue. @MrConservative may be able to enlighten us because he is familiar with Japan & it's culture.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
South Korea compares Japan's 'rising sun' flag to swastika as Olympic row deepens

I put this in here, not to be political, but seems this Japan and ROK row continue to be deepen day by day. This will affect the regional security issues toward Chinese advantage. I see already in some forums where PRC based forumers look at this with considerable satisfaction.

Consider that many of those forumers are Beijing 'ten cents' army, this can be shown how China will try to take advantage on this. With they already have concentrated effort on dividing influence in South East Asia, any opportunities on doing the same in East Asia will only benefit them further.

Talking on public moods in ROK and Japan is also seems support this row. Based on what their media put and what ROK and Japanese public says online seems put them further on opposite sides. Koreans seems continue sees Japan try to regain their superiority, while Japanese seems to say; " enough is enough, no matter what concession that we give to Koreans, it will never be enough".

Sometimes I feel like, without US forces stations on both nation, this can developed to border skirmishes already.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Probably a good thing there is some ocean between them instead of a land border. The only winner in this dispute is China. It seems to be escalating to the point that even when the US gets a POTUS that understands the importance of international relationships it may be too late to cool things down and re-establish some decorum between these two nations.
 

OPSSG

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The 2020 Defense of Japan White Paper

1. There is an excellent Mar 2020 backgrounder called “KEY CHALLENGES: In Japan’s Defense Policy”, that one should read before the white paper to give context to Japanese threat perceptions and actions.

2. The 2020 white paper, titled “Defense of Japan,” was adopted by the Japanese government at a July 14 Cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

3. China is pushing harder to make territorial claims in the regional seas and even using the coronavirus pandemic to expand its influence and take strategic superiority, posing a greater threat to Japan and the region, Japan's government said. The white paper highlighted the Japanese government's defense priorities was issued less than a day after the Trump administration rejected outright nearly all of Beijing's significant maritime claims in the South China Sea in a statement likely to deepen the U.S.-China rift.

4. The white paper also focused on China’s use of propaganda, including spreading disinformation, about the spread of the coronavirus and takes special note of North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities posing a direct threat to Japan.

5. In past white papers, the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MOD) stated that North Korea “appears to have arrived at the stage of miniaturizing nuclear weapons and developing warheads.” The latest white paper characterizes the threat as much more substantive. As recently as 2018, the white paper stated that “it may be seen as possible that [North Korea] has arrived at the stage of nuclear weapon miniaturization and warhead development.”

6. Mike Yeo reports that the white paper contains a section on the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing variant of the Lockheed Martin aircraft, noting that with regional countries making “remarkable progress” in air power modernization, the country needed to respond in kind. The whitepaper highlighted the operational flexibility of the F-35B, noting the jet’s ability to operate without the need for long runways, which would enable the Japan Air Self-Defense Force to significantly expand the number of locations from whence the service can conduct air superiority operations.

7. Japan has plans to eventually acquire 42 F-35Bs to operate alongside its planned fleet of 105 conventional-takeoff-and-landing F-35As, making it the top customer of the F-35 outside the US.

8. In addition to the air threat, the threat of Chinese submarine incursions is seen as very real. In Jun 2020, to track a submerged submarine near its waters, the JMSDF scrambled one of its helicopter carriers, two destroyers and several maritime patrol aircraft. Although Japan has not declared the nationality of the submarine, it is widely believed to have been Chinese.

(i) According to a press release (in Japanese) the submarine was detected on June 18 northeast of Amami Oshima, which is one of the islands running between Japan and Taiwan. These islands are known as the first island chain and form a natural barrier between China and the Pacific. The submarine was tracked for several days.​

(ii) Japan is increasing its submarine force from 16 to 22 boats. While Japan’s submarines are considered very advanced, they will still be massively outnumbered by the Chinese Navy. The white paper says that Japan will maintain “reinforced submarine units” to “engage in patrols and defense in the waters around Japan”.​

(iii) Japan has already commissioned the world’s first submarine with Lithium-Ion batteries. The improved technology promises to help their submarines stay underwater for longer periods.​
 
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OPSSG

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The Trump Administration is again considering withdrawing some troops from South Korea, if South Korea’s Moon does not pay more for maintaining a 28,500-strong US contingent deterring North Korean aggression.

The potential decision to pull troops from South Korea comes as Washington and Seoul have yet to reach a solid cost-sharing agreement after the last one expired 31 Dec 2019. The deal, known as the Special Measures Agreement (SMA), lapsed amid the Trump administration's demands for South Korea to pay significantly more to base American troops there.

In 2019, the Trump administration attempted to get South Korea to pay about US$1.6 billion to house American troops but later agreed to an increase to US$1 billion with the understanding that the SMA would be negotiated for 2020. But subsequent negotiations earlier this year were not successful, leading to a lapse of the SMA. The two countries reached a temporary deal but Trump has insisted South Korea contribute about US$5 billion a year, or about 400% more than what it paid in the now-expired SMA. Both sides say the Trump Administration's demands have since softened, but a new deal has yet to be reached.

Trump has advocated the need for allies, such as South Korea and Japan, to pay more of the costs associated with hosting U.S. troops. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said he would consider removing troops from the two countries unless they boosted their contributions. Japan must be wondering are they next on Trump’s to-do-list for a shake down. Under the Japan-US security treaty, about 50,000 American troops are stationed in Japan. This forward presence enable the US Navy to respond rapidly to contingencies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Apologies for the seemingly off-topic link on the Trump administration’s announcement to pull 9,500 troops from Europe. IMO, this decision is rash — Asia is watching the American withdrawal from Europe with concern.
The show of force using American carriers has triggered a response from China on its new islands. There has been debate within the Malaysian academic and think tank community over the country’s response and its approach to the South China Sea more broadly, with some advocating a more conciliatory stance toward China in the interest of closer bilateral relations. Given the uncertainty in U.S.-China relations Malaysia is reluctant to make any decisions that could result in them being caught between the two.

The rationalizations offered by US national security adviser Robert O’Brien and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are a validation of the president’s personal grievances against Germany and its chancellor, Angela Merkel, not a thoughtful strategy. This decision would be a major blow to US credibility in Europe and a win for Russia.

American Forces stationed in Germany provide a strategic advantage for the US, especially in Africa and in the Middle East — they provide logistical support, intelligence capabilities, medical services, and contracting assistance to US governmental and military organizations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The forces in Europe are “an ocean closer” to many hot spots.

For example, the mission in Germany includes medical support at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. This joint military medical facility is one the military’s largest trauma centers. Landstuhl serves the military and their families, but it also transfers the wounded and sick from other continents.
 
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ngatimozart

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Japan is looking for future missile defence capabilities since the shore based AEGIS system has been cancelled.

 

OPSSG

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Understanding Taiwan’s Chronic Gap
1. The Legislative Yuan approved NT$358 billion (US$12.1 billion) for national defense spending across fiscal 2020, a 3.47 percent increase compared with 2019, while China’s military budget this year is NT$5.4 trillion, more than 15 times that of Taiwan.

2. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) and Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said there is no need to enter an arms race with a “warmongering” China, as President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has introduced policies to increase the quality and quantity of the nation’s armed forces.

3. China’s development model differs from Taiwan, as it aspires to be a global hegemon, while Taiwan only seeks to protect its citizens, Wang said, adding that the two are not comparable. An arms race with China is out of the question, Chao said, as Taiwan cannot hope to compete, nor is it necessary.
4. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) has 215,000 budgeted positions among all branches, of which 188,000 are soldiers and the rest civilian employees. Only 153,000 of those positions were filled in 2018—just 81 percent of the personnel the military should have.

5. The Taiwanese have no intention of building a credible deterrence. If they were, they would not have ended their prior conscription system — that used to be like that of Korea. But 2017’s changes slashed the conscription period to just four months. Most draftees serve even less, as up to two weeks can be deducted if they’ve completed military training classes in high school and college. The four-month conscripts typically receive five weeks of basic training before they are assigned to field units for more specialty training. But they’re more a burden than an aid, not treated seriously by career or noncommissioned officers as their short stays mean they are seen as guests rather than soldiers.

6. But worse than these irrational moves to end conscription, they have not properly resourced their new all volunteer force — such that frontline combat units only have 60% to 80% of the required manpower. They are already combat ineffective during peacetime.
 
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Musashi_kenshin

Active Member
KMT’s then leader Ma Ying-jeou, who served as Taiwan’s President from 2008 to 2016, met Xi Jinping on 5 November 2015, in Singapore, for a new page in history for cross-strait relations. That 2015 KMT and CCP rapprochement is gone with the DPP in power. There is background on why things are the way it is between China and Taiwan. China under Xi Jinping has tried, within certain parameters, to accommodate Taiwanese aspirations. There are real consequences to DPP rule (or mis-rule, depending on who you ask in Taiwan) that has an impact the geo-politics of North East Asia.
I hope you don't mind me commenting on an old comment, but I rarely see discussions on Taiwan. Obviously in 2019 a DPP victory was far from being nailed-on, but thanks in part to China over-reaching in Hong Kong it was another DPP landslide.

You can't justifiably blame the DPP for the state of relations with China. President Tsai has held out her hand more than once to Beijing. She doesn't have any conditions for talks, she just doesn't accept Taiwan is part of China (why would she?). It's Xi and the CCP that have the preconditions. Yes, Ma did meet Xi. But the meeting didn't achieve anything other than some short-lived propaganda.

Also, putting aside the destruction of 1C2S in Hong Kong, Xi's "offer" to Taiwan was always hollow. The CCP has never set out what its red lines are for a future settlement with Taiwan - e.g. a Beijing-appointed governor or requiring Taiwanese politicians to be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee, a permanent garrison in Taiwan, whether Taiwan can continue to arm itself and import arms, etc. Saying stuff like Taiwan can have "HK Plus" or "enhanced autonomy" is meaningless.

Regarding the July 2020 article, I've seen those reports about manpower shortages. I don't think it's right to say Taiwan has "no intent" of building a credible deterrence. Forcing conscription on a populace that doesn't want it is dictatorial. Taiwan is a democracy now. Maybe they need to put more money in to allow for a volunteer army, but that doesn't mean Taiwan isn't trying. My own view is that it will take more time to make the volunteer military truly successful.
 

OPSSG

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Also, putting aside the destruction of 1C2S in Hong Kong, Xi's "offer" to Taiwan was always hollow. The CCP has never set out what its red lines are for a future settlement with Taiwan - e.g. a Beijing-appointed governor or requiring Taiwanese politicians to be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee, a permanent garrison in Taiwan, whether Taiwan can continue to arm itself and import arms, etc.
1. I see your point of view on why 1 country, 2 systems has no hope of working. There are different angles and ways to look the dysfunctional cross-straits relations from a political standpoint. Beijing and Taipei sharply disagree on the island’s status and the fact is that 2015 Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Kuomintang (KMT) rapprochement is gone with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in power. You certainly know the background on why things are the way it is between China and Taiwan.

2. For ASEAN there is only “one China” and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of it. Beijing says Taiwan is bound by an understanding reached in 1992 between representatives of the CCP and the KMT then ruling Taiwan. Referred to as the 1992 Consensus, it states that there is only “one China” but allows for differing interpretations, by which both Beijing and Taipei agree that Taiwan belongs to China, while the two still disagree on which entity is China’s legitimate governing body. The tacit agreement underlying the 1992 Consensus is that Taiwan will not seek independence.

3. The responsibility for defending Taiwan lies with the Taiwanese — they have to pretend to be willing to fight — being caught selling war plans on eBay — filed as obviously not trying.

Regarding the July 2020 article, I've seen those reports about manpower shortages. I don't think it's right to say Taiwan has "no intent" of building a credible deterrence. Forcing conscription on a populace that doesn't want it is dictatorial. Taiwan is a democracy now. Maybe they need to put more money in to allow for a volunteer army, but that doesn't mean Taiwan isn't trying. My own view is that it will take more time to make the volunteer military truly successful.
4. Compared to the rate of military capability advancement in China, Taiwan’s rate of change is seen by me as slowly crawling along — I am not the only one to state the obvious.

5. One of the reasons why China has cemented its place as the world’s fifth largest arms exporter is cost-effectiveness. Whether it’s a Type 56 assault rifle or a diesel-electric submarine, the technology of its military products is familiar and the price isn’t exorbitant. The same applies to Norinco’s VP11 MRAP whose features are tailored for armies saddled with meager budgets. Clearly applying the timeless lessons of South African protected trucks–the monocoque hull and bulging side panels–the VP11 is unique for being smaller than usual.

6. From my perspective, Taiwan can decide what I wants and it’s current president, Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the DPP has rejected the 1992 Consensus that Taiwan will not seek independence. In a January 2019 speech, she declared the “one country, two systems” framework advanced by Beijing unacceptable. Her rejection of the consensus, along with that of other leading voices in the governing DPP, leaves open the possibility of future Taiwanese independence.

7. The Taiwanese can do whatever they want, including disbanding conscription. But if war breaks out, don’t drag others into it.
 
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Musashi_kenshin

Active Member
Taiwan doesn't have the budget to build dozens of new first-class warships, unless it reverts to the old KMT dictatorship era and starts depriving schools and hospitals of much needed funding. (China, on the other-hand, has cash registers in its hospitals to charge people up front, so it's understandable it can build and upgrade lots of vessels.)

As for your last point, all free countries have the right to ask for outside assistance if they're attacked. Realistically it would be a mostly US force, albeit maybe with some Japanese/Australian support - ASEAN could easily not even get involved at all. No one would be forced to intervene, but letting China take over Taiwan would be bad for everyone in Asia (except the CCP).
 

OPSSG

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Let me add to my prior post above:
As for your last point, all free countries have the right to ask for outside assistance if they're attacked.
8. No help will be coming to Taiwan (and it is not even a member of the UN) unless there is a legal framework, like a status of forces agreement and the legal indemnities undertaken by Saudi Arabia with coalition forces during Gulf War I. We are talking months before any non-US help could or would come — for force prep and getting a legal framework in place for Taiwan to sign under duress.

9. An alternative to an ad hoc undertaking (which the Taiwanese will not give due to trust issues), is the entry into a legal framework like the FPDA (or NATO like in structure).
(a) Even under the FPDA, which alllows for intelligence sharing, commitment of forces is not automatic. But the consultation process (for intervention) is speeded up and enabled for specific and planned military contingencies.​
(b) After 9-11, NATO invoked Article 5 to enable the creation of the NATO led ISAF for Afghanistan. While that process was pretty fast, it took until Oct (almost a month), before invoking of Article 5 was announced. The process took until Dec 2001 by UN Resolution 1386, as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement for ISAF to be created.​
No country, even the US is willing to enter into any treaty like agreement with Taiwan — due to inherent mistrust of all parties. The Taiwanese do not trust the Americans and vice versa. I would go so far as to say that the Taiwanese should not be trusted. IMO, it would be hard for the Taiwanese to strike a good deal with anyone.
Realistically it would be a mostly US force...
10. Not true. The Americans have a policy of strategic ambiguity that has been followed by four American presidents —Washington could take a judicious approach in such a situation. It could insist that China call off the attacks and could threaten military action—while quietly telling Taipei to retract any independence rhetoric if it expected American military help. Such a strategy might well work in quelling the conflict before it escalated enough to directly involve the US.

11. Entry into a fighting naval coalition is not a simple process and fraught with difficulty on escalation limits, National caveats, logistics compatibility, and/or other issues.
...albeit maybe with some Japanese/Australian support.
12. The China-Taiwan relationship is one of the most dangerous in the world.
  • The Prime Ministers of Australia and Japan will treat it with proper care and be carefully balanced in their responses to Taiwan. Australian and Japanese responses to Mar 2010 ROKS Cheonan sinking and Nov 2010 bombardment of Yeonpyeong in Korea, were carefully balanced. These incidents with a US ally demonstrated that if the stakes are high enough, no one really dares to or wants to escalate. If the PLA(N) sinks a Taiwanese navy boat, no war is expected — the Taiwanese are not even American allies.
  • Keep in mind that since Taiwan lost its United Nations seat as "China" in 1971 (replaced by the PRC), most sovereign states have switched their diplomatic recognition to the PRC, recognizing the PRC as the representative of all China, though the majority of countries avoid clarifying what territories are meant by "China" in order to associate with both the PRC and Taiwan.
  • As of 20 September 2019, Taiwan maintains official diplomatic relations with about 14 UN member states and the Holy See, although informal relations are maintained with nearly all others.
  • A simple commitment of forces or supply of weapons (to support Taiwan) by the Australians or the Japanese would be seen by the diplomatic community as mishandling the situation.
ASEAN could easily not even get involved at all.
13. ASEAN as a community is not an Asian version of NATO and a much looser arrangement than the EU. Plus ADMM is not intended to be used that way — will need to review this in 20 years (in 2040).
No one would be forced to intervene, but letting China take over Taiwan would be bad for everyone in Asia (except the CCP).
14. But IMO, China does not want to invade — they are not so stupid to make such a strategic mistake that will bleed them dry. It is clear that the PLA has developed some interesting military capabilities should the use of force become necessary— it may simply be to shoot at the Taiwanese military or for the PLA(N) to apply military pressure in other ways (eg. a distant interdiction of trade routes). The Taiwanese are aware of the PLA(N)’s bombers that carry 400km YJ-12 ASCMs and 2000km CJ-20 ALCMs, which make the US made block 2, Harpoon missiles, in Taiwan’s inventory, look very short ranged by comparison.

15. If the Japanese Prime Minister or the US President who wants to commit forces to show support, they will be faced with a real domestic politics dilemma (if it is not an invasion).
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
16. EVEN if it is a clear cut invasion threat, it can take more than 2 weeks for the first shipments of American weapons to trickle-in and a further one to two months before any Japanese help can trickle-in to Taiwan. As far as American and Japanese interests are concerned, any Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Taiwan, in the of tension period prior to war would seek to facilitate the following:

(i) Unhindered entry of American and Japanese troops during times of emergency.​

(ii) Exemption of military personnel from visa or passport formalities and local laws.​

(iii) Unrestricted entry of equipment and supplies, without being subject to custom formalities.​

(iv) A framework for the movement of American and Japanese personnel and supplies into Taiwan for exercise.​

(v) Specifies a particular legal code to be applied in case of damage inflicted to the host nation by American and Japanese military personnel during an exercise.​

Knowing Taiwanese pride do you think they can accept a SOFA as envisaged? Where the SOFA would not provide similar facilities to Taiwanese personnel who could be sent to Japan for training and related purposes — their pride will be their downfall.
Taiwan doesn't have the budget to build dozens of new first-class warships, unless it reverts to the old KMT dictatorship era...
17. This is a false choice. Instead of spending on defence a portion Taiwanese funding has been diverted to industry to buy what I consider are the wrong products and weapons are less suitable in meeting their actual operational demands (to futher their island defence plan)— I see their failure to upgrade the M-60 tanks and lack of focus on getting 120mm mortars and 155mm wheeled artillery, being a case in point.

18. The corruption behind the "Lafayette Affair" has dragged on for two decades and has involved at least 8 bizarre deaths, multiple court cases, hundreds of millions in frozen Swiss bank accounts and high-level government probes in both Taiwan and France that have reached deep into the corridors of power. If the Taiwanese political and military leadership are really serious about defence they would not be using arms procurement as an excuse to enrich themselves.

19. I am saying the Taiwanese should do better with how they execute their arms procurement (instead of doing U-turns) or diverting money for corruption. For Taiwan’s sake, in addition to the build plan for 8 submarines, I remain hopeful for their planned local build programs for four frigates/destroyers, 10 to 15 3,000-ton catamaran frigates, and amphibious transport docks to replace 11 dock landing ships and tank landing ships.

20. The Taiwanese reserve mobilisation system does not work. It does not work because they are not seriously trying — in contrast, a significant part of the Finnish total defence concept is that there's lots of peacetime know-how that is useful for the Army. Even Finnish civilian construction workers will assist in creating fortifications and other infrastructure that might prove useful in case of war, when mobilised. In Finland, all men above 18 years of age are liable to serve either 165, 255 or 347 days. Rank-and-file reservists in Finland can get trained to become NCOs and existing NCOs trained into officers.

21. Under the present circumstances, do you think the Taiwanese can last 2 weeks to 2 months fighting alone? With the F-16V upgrade, the Taiwanese have done all they can for their AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar equipped F-16 fleet that are Harpoon armed.
 
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