Friday, October 7

Taiwan prepares a long resistance against a Chinese invasion

If you want peace, prepare for war. The old Roman maxim is more valid today than ever in Taiwan, the ‘de facto’ independent island claimed by China. In its unstoppable rise to replace the United States as the world’s leading power, the Beijing regime has set itself an unwaivable, almost sacred objective, to reunify this separated territory from the continent since the end of the civil war in 1949. After the recovery of the former colonies of Hong Kong and Macao, Taiwan is the paw that is missing from the Chinese map to complete the figure of the rooster that is so proud in this country.

“It will happen sooner or later”, warns the president Xi Jinping, who has been erected in the

most authoritarian leader since Mao and next year he will perpetuate himself in power. In his speeches he proclaims the peaceful way, but Beijing enacted an “anti-secession law” in 2005 that justifies the use of force against Taiwan if it formally declares its independence.

Although this possibility is remote, the tension has been increasing since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016, who sings a marked sovereign speech very different from the rapprochement advocated by her Kuomintang predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou. This is attested by the incursions last month of 150 Chinese aircraft into the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone and the increasingly violent harangues of the state media.

Aware of its weakness in the face of the Chinese giant, this island of 23 million people knows that it could never win a war. In addition, it would be a catastrophe not only for both parties, but for the entire planet due to its tremendous economic impact. Should a fight break out, Beijing would only be worth a blitzkrieg invasion that crippled Taiwan’s defensive capabilities and allowed it to control its territory in a short time. The key would be to do it before the international community mobilized and especially the US, which in 1979 committed to the Act of Relations with Taiwan to defend the island if it was attacked.

In anticipation of this scenario, which could unleash a World War III with nuclear weapons, the Government of Tsai Ing-wen cultivates its diplomatic relations, as has been seen with the first official visit of a delegation from the European Parliament, and strengthens itself militarily. But its objective is not to defeat China, which is impossible, but to offer the maximum possible resistance to repel the invasion and thus gain time in order to gain international support.

“It would be an asymmetric war, because China would try to end it soon and we should extend it to make the occupation fail,” military expert Si-Fu Ou, from the Taiwan Institute for National Defense and Security Research, explains to ABC. Although he knows that “Beijing now has more air capacity to attack and it has more than a thousand missiles pointing from its coast », assures that “the most worrying thing is an amphibious invasion or with paratroopers.”

To face this threat, the Taiwanese government has increased its arms purchases from the US, its main ally, over the last two years, to exceed the 4 billion dollars (3.46 billion euros) in anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles and defensive systems. For next year, he has brought to Parliament, where he has a majority, a military budget of 471.7 billion Taiwan dollars (14.5 billion euros). In addition, it foresees an additional expenditure of 240,000 million Taiwanese dollars (7,440 million euros) until 2027.

That is the date that the Pentagon is considering for a possible invasion because the Chinese Navy already has more ships than the US: 360 versus 297 according to the latest congressional report. But Si-Fu Ou aim for 2024 “Because that year there are elections in Taiwan and China could take advantage of the power vacuum while the government is being formed.”

In his view, the recent Chinese air raids seek to “rehearse a coordinated attack from all directions to decapitate Taiwan’s defensive capacity.” For him, “the key would be to respond by attacking the bases on the Chinese coast to interrupt the offensive and block its ships, including civilians and oil tankers, in the Strait of Formosa”, which is 180 kilometers long. In addition, Taiwan should control cyberattacks on civilian and military infrastructures and possible sabotage by infiltrated spies.

Although Taiwanese missiles could reach as far as Beijing or Shanghai, Si-Fu Ou believes that only counterattacking military bases and missile silos would stop the offensive: “We cannot defeat China, only defeat its invasion attempt.”