Taiwan alternative options

Hi all

This is a strategy discussion based around the current (seemingly endless) discussion of possible conflict in Asia over Taiwan. Most mainstream commentators assume the USA and allies will be automatically drawn into a conflict over Taiwan.

Given China’s strength in soft power and the ability to take a long term approach to foreign policy, I’d like to ask the following question:

If China invaded Taiwan but did NOT attack the USA/Japan/SKorea, would a wider scale conflict actually ensue?

The general idea behind this is:
- declare a ADIZ over the entire island of Taiwan
- institute an aerial and naval blockade around the island
- clear threats that it is “an internal Chinese matter. Do not get involved and we will leave everyone else alone” Similar dialogue to what the Chinese already use when referring to Taiwan.
- massive surprise and rapid attack on Taiwan. Within a week the Chinese would expect to hold a commanding position that would force Taiwan to surrender.
- the timeframe is important, it has to be fast to limit the response of potential allies.
- NO attack on Guam/Okinawa/Korean bases. If no other country is attacked first and it is pushed as “internal Chinese problem” how many countries will actually declare war on China?
- threats of trade sanctions or economic penalties to countries that threat to join on the Taiwanese side
- possibly started when USA/West is involved in another conflict (aka Iraq/Afghanistan) that has a large force deployed

Given the following background, in my limited (civilian) opinion, I believe that there is a strategy option open to China that allows this.


1: The current Russia - Ukraine conflict provides some indications. A large nuclear power versus a smaller non-nuclear country. I would argue the lines have been drawn around this conflict by the various EU/Russian/USA leaders, no attack on NATO, no nuclear weapons, no direct western involvement. As long as none of these lines are crossed, we will never see direct USA/EU involvement in this war.

2: Japan attacking Pearl Harbour. It could be argued if Japan had never attacked Pearl Harbour, the USA entry into WW2 would have been significantly different. FDR was having a lot of trouble overcoming the isolationist factions, without a direct attack on US colonies or territory, how much longer would this have continued?

3. China and their trading partners. China is the largest trading partner to more than 120 countries around the world. Given the soft power strengths of China, how could this be used to convince various countries to stay out of a China/Taiwan conflict?

4. Developing alternative lines of supply into China. There is significant plans in place to expand overland supply routes for resources from Russia, Iran and Pakistan. Also plans in place to grow an alternate source of iron ore in West Africa. All of these projects will be finished or have made significant progress by 2030.



Well-Known Member
Some of the senior members of the forum have made good points in the past that the CCP would likely assume that the US would intervene, regardless of whether it conducted a first strike or not. Beijing may not immediately attack US and allied bases and give a bit of time to see how the governments of those countries reacted and whether it could delay a response via diplomacy.

However, in reality I think all things being equal (ignoring the possibility of random events like a pacifist being elected to the White House) there would be an intervention for the reasons so many people have given in the past about the importance of the Taiwan to the world supply chain, regional security due to its location, etc.

1. Ukraine isn't Taiwan. There is a much stronger international view that it needs protection, especially in the US. You'll have heard Republicans like say Ron DeSantis that Ukraine isn't what the US should be focusing on. Japan has also talked about Taiwan in a way that it never talked about Ukraine.

2. If this is a point about the PLA not conducting a first-strike, I've referred to that above. Taiwan is too important to ignore. If China decides not to attack the US and its allies first, it can give them the initiative.

3. See above. We're talking about a handful of countries that will decide how a Chinese attack on Taiwan goes. It wouldn't matter if the entirety of Africa stayed neutral, because they would have little to add to the situation. Self-imposed embargoes would obviously make things easier for Team Taiwan, but for the reasons given below I doubt that those shipments would make it anyway.

4. Even ignoring Russian oil, China is still going to have to ship African iron ore over long distances. If there was some sort of interdiction of Chinese imports, it wouldn't matter whether the vessels carrying them were under a Chinese or African flag.

More importantly, vessels trying to send supplies to China may be unable to get insurance due to the possibility of being sunk. That would lead to imports drying up anyway.


Well-Known Member
It has been debated ad nauseam here and I agree with @Musashi_kenshin that China would hold back on any preemptive strike on US bases in the Pacific for the reasons he mentioned. Likewise, a US intervention would occur at some stage even without those strikes taking place.

The timing of that intervention and the nature would be dependent on how far gone Taiwan is. (Strictly personal opinion) If they could put up a good fight and hold off the Chinese long enough, the effects of a US intervention would likely tip the tide. While attempts are being made to pre-positioned forces and equipment in-situ (e.g ECDA plans in the Philippines, enhanced deployments to Japan), marshalling sufficient strength would take time.

If it goes according to Chinese plans (short campaign, say 2 - 3 months) and the PLA is marching on Taipei from Kaohsiung, it would require a massive coventional intervention. That is where things are a little unclear. While there are flaws with the CSIS war simulations, I don't think they are far off in terms of the main point; it will just be a massive slugfest that ends in a Pyrrhic victory.

Re politics, UN/US sanctions, global opinion etc, the bottom line is the CCP has made the Taiwan issue non-negotiable; these are just sunk costs that they have accepted if they pull the trigger.


New Member
China develops new 'Stealth Technology' for its submarines to evade US sonars !!!!

I have reviewed your postings and suggest you need to modify your posting style. Simply pointing to another site without some sort of reasoned discussion on the ‘news’ is not acceptable. You have done this repeatedly noting some of the sites you link to are sensationalist and not really reliable.

This is a friendly warning. Please take heed.

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