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《中國不必在台海發動戰爭》讀後
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郭德曼先生對台海中、美兩國軍力的分析(請見本欄第二篇文章),和過去本部落格轉載多篇報導/評論相當;也跟我對此情勢的了解相合。基本上它們可以概括如下:

1) 
中國具有「主場優勢」。
2) 
中國在飛彈武力上佔有優勢。
3) 
只要台灣政府維持現狀,中共就沒有發動戰爭的必要。
4)  
如果台海發生戰爭,美軍不會參戰;如果美軍參戰,她將毫無勝算。
5) 
中國只需「封鎖台灣」就足以迫使台灣政府投降。
6) 
綜上所述,台海發生戰爭的機率不高。

因此:

a.  
寄望美軍「協防」台灣的人在做白日夢。
b. 
如果台灣領導人還要繼續以跳樑小丑自居,那就叫一個「作死」。

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中國核武能力現況 ---- Matt Murphy
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China has sharply expanded nuclear arsenal, US says

Matt Murphy, BBC News, Washington, 10/21/23

China has significantly expanded its nuclear stockpile over the past year and is now holding some 500 operational warheads, the US has said.

An annual report released by the Pentagon also said Beijing hoped to double its arsenal to over 1,000 warheads by 2030.

But it said China remained committed to a "no-first-strike" nuclear policy.

While the report said the rise exceeded projections, China's stockpile is still dwarfed by those of Russia and the US.

Russia has a nuclear arsenal of some 5,889 warheads and the US can field 5,244, according to the independent Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

In 2021 the US Department of Defense estimated China had around 400 warheads.

"We're not trying to suggest a very large departure from where they [China] looked to be headed... but we are suggesting that they're on track to exceed those previous projections," a senior Pentagon official told reporters on Thursday, adding that the issue raised "a lot of concerns" for the US.

President Xi Jinping has declared China will field a "world-class military" by 2049. Since he came to power in 2012, he has sought to modernise the country's armed forces.

Thursday's Pentagon report said that China's drive to boost its nuclear arsenal was set to "dwarf previous attempts in both scale and complexity".

US officials said Beijing had probably completed the construction of three new clusters of missile sites in 2022. These fields include at least 300 new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBMs) silos, the report said.

ICBMs are ballistic missiles with a range greater than 5,500km (3,400 miles).

China's People's Liberation Army has also been seeking to develop ICBMs that would allow it "to threaten conventional strikes against targets in the continental US, Hawaii and Alaska", the US report found.

The analysis said that despite the growth of its nuclear stockpile, China remained "committed to a policy of 'deterrence' of an enemy first strike and 'counterstrike' when deterrence fails".

In a press briefing on Friday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said the US report "is full of prejudice and spreads the theory of the threat posed by China".

Ms Mao added that China had "always maintained our nuclear forces at the lowest level required for national security, and we have no intention of engaging in a nuclear arms race with any country".

Henry Boyd of the International Institute for Strategic Studies told the BBC the reported rate of increase did not look "hugely exceptional".

He also conceded that China was "moving slightly faster than estimated" towards its stated goal of 1,000 warheads.

Lyle Morris, a senior fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute, told the BBC that developments such as hypersonic missiles were making China reconsider its second-strike policy, forcing the expansion of its stockpile.

Thursday's Pentagon report also noted that Beijing has "amplified diplomatic, political, and military pressure" against Taiwan over recent months.

Mr Xi has reportedly ordered his defence chiefs to develop the military capability to forcibly re-take the island by 2027.

A series of ballistic missile overflights of Taiwan, increased flights into its airspace and a series of military exercises around its waters have been ordered to destabilise the island, the Pentagon report added.

The findings come amid a low point in China-US diplomatic relations.

On Wednesday, Washington accused Chinese air force pilots of conducting hundreds of "coercive and risky" manoeuvres against US military planes in international air space over the Pacific.

The Pentagon - which also released videos and photos of the manoeuvres - said there had been 180 incidents since autumn 2021.


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2030年前中國將有新一代核子潛艇 -- Greg Torode
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Analysis-Inside Asia's arms race: China near 'breakthroughs' with nuclear-armed submarines, report says

, 10/09/23

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A submarine arms race is intensifying as China embarks on production of a new generation of nuclear-armed submarines that for the first time are expected to pose a challenge to growing U.S. and allied efforts to track them.

Analysts and regional defence attaches say evidence is mounting that China is on track to have its Type 096 ballistic missile submarine operational before the end of the decade, with breakthroughs in its quietness aided in part by Russian technology.

Research discussed at a conference in May at the U.S. Naval War College and published in August by the college's China Maritime Studies Institute predicts the new vessels will be far harder to keep tabs on. That conclusion is credible, according to seven analysts and three Asia-based military attaches.

"The Type 096s are going to be a nightmare," said retired submariner and naval technical intelligence analyst Christopher Carlson, one of the researchers. "They are going to be very, very hard to detect."

The discreet effort to track China's nuclear-powered and -armed ballistic missile submarines, known as SSBNs, is one of the core drivers of increased deployments and contingency planning by the U.S. Navy and other militaries across the Indo-Pacific region. That drive is expected to intensify when Type 096s enter service.

The Chinese navy is routinely staging fully armed nuclear deterrence patrols with its older Type 094 boats out of Hainan Island in the South China Sea, the Pentagon said in November, much like patrols operated for years by the United States, Britain, Russia and France.

But the Type 094s, which carry China's most advanced submarine-launched JL-3 missile, are considered relatively noisy - a major handicap for military submarines.

The paper notes that the Type 096 submarine will compare to state-of-the-art Russian submarines in terms of stealth, sensors and weapons. It said that jump in capabilities would have "profound" implications for the U.S. and its Indo-Pacific allies.

Based partly on Chinese military journals, internal speeches by senior People's Liberation Army (PLA) officers and patent data, the paper charts more than 50 years of the PLA navy's often-glacial nuclear submarine development.

It contains satellite imagery taken in November at China's new Huludao shipyard showing pressure hull sections for a large submarine being worked up. That puts construction on schedule to have the boats operational by 2030, the timeline stated in the Pentagon's annual reports on China's military.

The research also details potential breakthroughs in specific areas, including pump-jet propulsion and internal quieting devices, based on "imitative innovation" of Russian technology.

Neither the Russian nor the Chinese defence ministries responded to Reuters' requests for comment.

The vessel is likely to be significantly larger than the Type 094, allowing it to contain an internal "raft" mounted on complex rubber supports to dampen engine noise and other sounds, similar to Russian designs.

Carlson told Reuters he did not believe China had obtained Russia's "crown jewels" - its very latest technology - but would be producing a submarine stealthy enough to compare to Moscow's Improved Akula boats.

"We have a hard time finding and tracking the Improved Akulas as it is," Carlson said.

Singapore-based defence scholar Collin Koh said the research opened a window on discreet research projects to improve China's SSBNs as well as boosting its anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

"They know they are behind the curve so they are trying to play catch-up in terms of quieting and propulsion," said Koh, of Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

Carlson said he believed China's strategists would, like Russia, keep SSBNs within protective "bastions" close to its coasts, utilising recently fortified holdings in the disputed South China Sea.

ECHO OF THE COLD WAR

The prospect of advanced SSBNs will significantly complicate an already intense subsurface surveillance battle.

In an echo of the Cold War-era effort to hunt for Soviet "boomers", the tracking of Chinese submarines is increasingly an international effort, with the Japanese and Indian militaries assisting the United States, Australia and Britain, analysts and military attaches say.

Anti-submarine warfare drills are increasing, as are deployments of sub-hunting P-8 Poseidon aircraft around Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean.

The United States, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, Britain and New Zealand operate the advanced plane, which use sonobuoys and other more advanced techniques, such as scanning the ocean surface, to find submarines far below.

The United States is also carrying out the biggest overhaul of its top-secret undersea surveillance network since the 1950s to combat China's growing presence, Reuters reported in September.

The prospect of a quieter Chinese SSBN is driving, in part, the AUKUS deal among Australia, Britain and the U.S., which will see increased deployments of British and U.S. attack submarines to Western Australia. By the 2030s, Australia expects to launch its first nuclear-powered attack submarines with British technology.

"We are at a fascinating point here," said Alexander Neill, a Singapore-based defence analyst. "China is on track with a new generation of submarine ahead of the first AUKUS boats - even if they are at parity in terms of capability, that is highly significant," said Neill, an adjunct fellow at Hawaii's Pacific Forum think-tank.

Even if China's submarine force reaches technological parity, it will need to train aggressively and intensively over the next decade to match AUKUS capabilities, he added.

Vasily Kashin, a Moscow-based Chinese military scholar at HSE University, said it was possible Chinese engineers had made the breakthroughs described in the report.

Although China most likely obtained some key Russian technology in the 1990s after the break up of the Soviet Union, Kashin said, there was no known sharing agreement between Beijing and Moscow outside of a 2010 nuclear reactor agreement.

He said China may have made progress via adaptations of Russian designs and through other sources, including espionage, but it is unlikely they have the newest-generation Russian systems.

"China is not an adversary of Russia in the naval field," Kashin said. "It is not creating difficulties for us, it is creating problems for the U.S."

(Reporting By Greg Torode; additional reporting by Guy Faulconbridge in Moscow; Editing by Gerry Doyle)


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中國不必在台海發動戰爭 ––– David P. Goldman
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China Isn't Going to War Because It Doesn't Have To 

DAVID P. GOLDMAN, 10/15/23

Relax, boys and girls: China won't invade Taiwan, and the U.S. Navy won't engage Chinese forces any time in the foreseeable future. It's a scam, a goof, a Muppet show, whose point is to cover up the incompetence and corruption which led the Pentagon to spend trillions on obsolete weapons. We lost the South China Sea years ago. We're in roughly the same position as Britain was in Singapore in late 1941, except that unlike the feckless British, we know it. We just can't admit it.

The U.S. Department of Defense has known since no later than 2012—when I consulted for the late Andrew Marshall at the Office of Net Assessment—that Chinese surface-to-surface (STS) missiles can destroy U.S. aircraft carriers, or any other military asset that isn't submerged. Not until recently did the U.S. military concede this in official assessments.

In contrast to the Reagan Administration, which made missile defense a priority, we're doing little to counter China's formidable capabilities. We can't test defenses against hypersonic missiles, because we can't even launch a hypersonic missile. Lockheed junked its flagship hypersonics program last March.

China is under no time pressure to take military action. From a military standpoint, a seaborne landing like the Normandy invasion of December 1944 would be senseless. Taiwan has storage capacity for 11 days of natural gas consumption. A Chinese blockade would force Taiwan's surrender in short order.

The Pentagon knows this, and isn't stupid enough to stumble into a firefight. Nonetheless, American commanders talk as if Chinese soldiers are about to hit Taiwanese beaches. In March 2021, Adm. Philip Davidson, Pacific Fleet commander, warned that China might invade Taiwan by 2027. Chief of naval operations Michael Gilday, said he could "not rule out" a Chinese attempt to invade as early as 2023.

Really? Why indeed would China risk military action of any kind in the Taiwan Strait? For the time being, China is getting everything it wants from the island. Taiwanese investment on the mainland is running at $4 billion a year and rising. Taiwanese chip engineers built China's chip fabrication plants.

Leave aside the risk of a nuclear exchange—depicted chillingly in Admiral James Stavridis' thriller 2034—the least consequence of any kinetic confrontation would be a global economic slump due to trade restrictions.

China has a decisive advantage in its home theater, and it's growing. It can deal with Taiwan whenever it wants. "The conventional arm of the PLARF is the largest ground-based missile force in the world, with over 2,200 conventionally armed ballistic and cruise missiles and with enough antiship missiles to attack every U.S. surface combatant vessel in the South China Sea with enough firepower to overcome each ship's missile defense," as Maj. Christopher J. Mihal wrote in 2021 in a U.S. Army journal.

"The [People's Liberation Army Air Force's] ground-based missile forces complement the air and sea-based precision strike capabilities of the PLAAF and PLAN," the Pentagon's November 29,2022 report, "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China," found. "The PLARF continues to grow its inventory of DF-26 IRBMs, which are designed to rapidly swap conventional and nuclear warheads. They are also capable of precision land-attack and anti-ship strikes in the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the South China Sea from mainland China.

And that doesn't take into account Chinese hypersonic missiles, against which there is no defense; hypersonics fly as fast as the anti-missile missiles that are supposed to intercept them. "China has tested and deployed a new longer-range hypersonic missile that is probably able to evade U.S. defenses, according to an overlooked top-secret document among those recently leaked. Now, the public can see what the American intelligence community already knew: China is quickly improving its capacity to strike thousands of miles from its shores and prevent the United States from intervening," Josh Rogin reported last April in the Washington Post.

One circumstance, and one only, would prompt China to take military action against Taiwan, and that is a move by the island toward sovereignty. It mounted a de facto two-day blockade of Taiwan in August 2022 during then-House Speaker Pelosi's visit. In China's calculus, the Speaker of the House is second in line to the president, and Pelosi's visit raised the prospect of diplomatic recognition of Taiwan.

As long as China can maintain the diplomatic fiction that Taiwan is a renegade province that belongs to China, it will eschew the use of force. But Beijing would view American support for an independent Taiwan as an attempt to break up China, as the imperialist powers did during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and respond with all the power at its disposal.

If we don't want a war, all we need to do is preserve Taiwan's status quo.

In sad emulation of great powers of the past, the United States has invested in the wrong kind of weapons for a kind of war that won't be fought again. Battleships took the lion's share of every combatant's military budget before World War II, and as Victor Davis Hanson observes in The Second World Wars, Germany and Japan made the mistake of building battleships rather than carriers, and that probably cost them the war. After Japanese bombers sunk four U.S. battleships at Pearl Harbor and two British capital ships near Singapore in December 1941, no navy ever laid a battleship keel again. The aircraft carrier ruled the seas for half a century. Now missiles have made the carrier obsolete.

Under Reagan, the federal development budget (building weapons prototypes) comprised 0.75 percent of GDP, compared to a paltry 0.25 percent today. If we want to restore the technological edge of America's military, we need to mobilize our national resources and fund R & D on Reagan's scale. That requires a radical shift in defense priorities from forever wars to high-tech weaponry. That's the right thing to do, but it would take years to achieve in the best-case scenario.

In the meantime, trash-talking China will get us nowhere. The kind of "denial" that applies to our national debate over Taiwan has more to do with Freud than Clausewitz. It's time to stop posturing and start rebuilding.

David P. Goldman is Deputy Editor of Asia Times and a Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute. He formerly was global head of debt research at Bank of America.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.


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