網路城邦
回本城市首頁 時事論壇
市長:胡卜凱  副市長:
加入本城市推薦本城市加入我的最愛訂閱最新文章
udn城市政治社會政治時事【時事論壇】城市/討論區/
討論區政治和社會 字體:
看回應文章  上一個討論主題 回文章列表 下一個討論主題
兩岸關係 – 開欄文
 瀏覽1,295|回應9推薦2

胡卜凱
等級:8
留言加入好友
文章推薦人 (2)

亓官先生
胡卜凱

俄烏戰爭在一年半以後,俄國憑藉其龐大的國力和人員,似乎拖垮了烏國的戰力、士氣、和民心。以巴戰爭又平地一聲雷的爆發,不但以國周邊的阿拉伯諸國虎視眈眈、蓄勢待發;也讓美國軍力和軍援左支右絀。這些發展勢必影響美國當下和未來在台海的軍事部署和決策。

我曾預估2027年前台海無戰事。但俗話說,世事難料;我們升斗小民只能期望政治領袖們不以老百姓為芻狗,盡量發揮理性和睿智以和平方式解決利益衝突。

兩岸關係從過去的和平對峙隨著中、美國力的長消,逐漸進入外弛內張的狀況。雖然還說不上戰雲密布或圖窮匕見;但讓關切時局者緊張兮兮應該是有的。這個部落格過去也常有報導和評論;現在開一個專欄,今後將把相關議題集中討論。

本文於 修改第 3 次
回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘

引用
引用網址:https://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=2976&aid=7216561
 回應文章
《中國如何巧取而非豪奪台灣》讀後
推薦1


胡卜凱
等級:8
留言加入好友

 
文章推薦人 (1)

胡卜凱

本欄上一篇貼文分析中國的「灰色地帶戰略」。強調無論短期或長期,中國不會採取「武統」方式;甚至會進行正式的「封鎖」;而會採用步步進逼的蠶食方式;「不戰而迫使台灣政府就範

從而,兩位作者認為:目前台、美雙方政府的國防和協防政策都有盲點;對海峽「安全」的投資沒有用在刀口上。

兩位作者對「灰色地帶戰略」的操作提出了具體的分析;也列舉了如何反制的建議。值得參考。不過,在我看來,由於大勢所趨,兩位作者的「反制政策」雖然說得頭頭是道,應該會徒勞無功;或許落個多苟延殘喘兩到三年。

本文可與此欄2024/05/252024/04/28(我還欠一篇《短評》)2023/12/232023/11/09各文以及中國不必在台海發動戰爭》和它的《讀後》合看

本文於 修改第 1 次
回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘
引用網址:https://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=2976&aid=7229776
中國如何巧取而非豪奪台灣 – I. Kardon/J. Kavanagh
推薦1


胡卜凱
等級:8
留言加入好友

 
文章推薦人 (1)

胡卜凱

How China Will Squeeze, Not Seize, Taiwan

A Slow Strangulation Could Be Just as Bad as a War

Isaac Kardon and Jennifer Kavanagh

(
請至原網頁觀看照片)

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2021, Admiral Philip Davidson, the retiring commander of U.S. military joint forces in the Indo-Pacific, expressed concern that China was accelerating its timeline to unify with Taiwan by amphibious invasion. “I think the threat is manifest during this decade, in fact in the next six years,” he warned. This assessment that the United States is up against an urgent deadline to head off a Chinese attack on Taiwan—dubbed the “Davidson Window”—has since become a driving force in U.S. defense strategy and policy in Asia.

Indeed, the Defense Department has defined a potential Chinese invasion of
Taiwan as the “pacing scenario” around which U.S. military capabilities are benchmarked, major investments are made, and joint forces are trained and deployed. Taipei has been somewhat less fixated on this particular threat. But over the last decade, as the cross-strait military balance has tilted in Beijing’s favor, Taiwan’s leaders have ramped up their military spending and training expressly to deter and deny such an attack.

The threat of an amphibious invasion, however, is the wrong focal point for the United States’ efforts to protect Taiwan. China’s patient, long-term Taiwan
policy, which treats unification as a “historical inevitability,” together with its modest record of military action abroad, suggests that Beijing’s more probable plan is to gradually intensify the policy it is already pursuing: a creeping encroachment into Taiwan’s airspace, maritime space, and information space. The world should expect to see more of what have come to be known as “gray-zone operations”—coercive activities in the military and economic domains that fall short of war.

This ongoing gray-zone influence campaign will not itself force Taiwan’s formal unification with the mainland. But over the course of many years, the expansion of China’s military, paramilitary, and civilian operations into Taiwan-controlled spaces could reach certain intermediate objectives—most important, preventing the island from achieving formal independence—while preserving Beijing’s options to use force down the road. Left unchallenged, Beijing’s gray-zone campaign could also demonstrate the limits of the United States’ power in Asia. The United States and its allies are unlikely, for instance, to use the advanced missile systems they have built up in the region if 
China never provides a clear casus belli in the form of a brazen invasion. Instead, U.S. leaders may find themselves mired in debates over whether China has crossed a redline. With Washington hamstrung by uncertainty over how far China intends to push its gray-zone tactics, much of the responsibility for countering China’s campaign of encroachment will fall to Taiwan.

Although Taiwan’s leaders frequently draw attention to China’s coercive activities in and around the Taiwan Strait, most of the major military investments they have made in recent years—including fighter aircraft, tanks, and an indigenously produced submarine—are not well aligned with the insidious nature of the gray-zone threat. Going forward, Taipei should concentrate its efforts on building buffer zones across all domains, hardening its communications infrastructure, and accelerating its foreign direct investment to build economic links that are more resilient against Chinese disruption.

The
United States must also break its fixation on the prospect of an invasion and become more alert to the dangers posed by a slow strangulation of Taiwan. Washington should bolster Taipei’s efforts by augmenting Taiwan’s surveillance capabilities, expanding the role of the U.S. Coast Guard across the South China and East China Seas and around Taiwan’s maritime approaches, and coordinating with commercial actors who may feel pressure to comply with Beijing’s restrictions. If current trends persist, it is likely that the Davidson Window will come and go with no war—but with Taiwan’s autonomy and the United States’ credibility both greatly diminished.

DARKENING CLOUDS

Over the past decade, China has asserted itself with increasing potency in East Asia’s airspace, waters, and information sphere. Its coast guard and other maritime law enforcement vessels have used nonlethal methods to gain varied levels of control over waters disputed by Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Vietnam. In the early months of 2024 alone, Chinese coast guard vessels have undertaken dangerous maneuvers and fired water cannons to prevent the
Philippines from resupplying a military outpost, Chinese diplomats have ignored the international Law of the Sea with new claims in the Gulf of Tonkin, and Chinese vessels have warned off Japanese aircraft operating in Japan’s territorial airspace around the Diaoyu Islands (known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands).

These measures reflect a fundamental intent to impose Chinese domestic law over disputed territories. Although Hong Kong is more directly under Chinese control than are the contested waters in the South China and East China Seas, Beijing’s steady suffocation of the city’s autonomy resembles its strategy toward claimed maritime spaces. China has implemented legal actions that expand its effective control over critical aspects of Hong Kong’s governance, all without resorting to military force.

Taiwan has increasingly become the target of coercive activities that resemble China’s gray-zone repertoire in the South China and East China Seas. The Chinese air force has conducted nearly three times as many incursions into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (the area in which aircraft are required to identify themselves to Taiwanese authorities) since January 2022 as it did between 2018 and 2021, according to reports released daily by Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense. Beijing has also routinely sent ships and aircraft across the median line running through the Taiwan Strait, effacing a de facto boundary that was defined in 1955. The Chinese military has increased the frequency, intensity, and duration of live-fire drills that temporarily establish sea and air control in the waters and airspace surrounding Taiwan, effectively encircling the island. China’s formidable capabilities in information warfare also figure prominently into its gray-zone concept of operations. Beijing saturates Taiwanese media with disinformation and is suspected of cutting submarine Internet cables to outlying islands under Taiwan’s control.

China’s gray-zone activities in the Taiwan Strait should not be viewed as a mere prelude to an amphibious invasion. Rather, Beijing’s persistent use of similar tactics in nearby waters suggests such actions are the primary methods in a patient, long-term strategy aimed at subjugating Taiwan without resorting to an invasion. With this approach, China is attempting to choke off the island’s control of surrounding waters and airspace and limit its ability to make autonomous military, diplomatic, and economic decisions. Actions along these lines would fall well short of the outright occupation that a successful amphibious invasion might offer. Yet this more ambiguous campaign may yield similar outcomes, leaving Beijing in control of Taiwan in most ways that matter without the necessity of any formal capitulation.

Russia’s failure to rapidly seize Kyiv after its 2022 invasion of Ukraine vividly reinforces the appeal of this strategy. Since 2022, Beijing has shown increased interest in cheaper and less risky measures to slowly squeeze the island, likely a reflection of its recognition, following Moscow’s military struggles, that a swift military victory over Taiwan will be difficult to achieve. China could keep tightening the noose by rolling out more special coast guard patrols that cover ever-greater swaths of the Taiwan Strait or by imposing customs or quarantine measures to curtail commercial flows. These possible operations would not stray far from activities Beijing has already undertaken around Kinmen Island, for example. Such actions do not amount to a blockade in operational or legal terms, but they achieve similar objectives and preserve the option to conduct a more comprehensive and lethal campaign in the future.

LOW RISK, MORE REWARD

Because Davidson was the most senior U.S. military officer in the Indo-Pacific and thanks to rising concern across the U.S. national security community about the pace of China’s military modernization, the Davidson Window was quickly accepted as dogma by U.S. policymakers and military leaders. But a number of factors make an outright Chinese military invasion less likely than a low-intensity encroachment campaign, both before 2027 and well into the future. The Chinese Communist Party has linked unification with Taiwan to the wider goal of “national rejuvenation” by 2049, but Chinese leader
Xi Jinping himself has remained vague about what such unification means in practice. China can afford to push its timeline well beyond the Davidson Window without departing from its long-term policy toward Taiwan.

China is also limited by a lack of recent combat experience and low confidence in its capability to conduct joint operations. As long as Beijing’s coercive measures are expanding its effective control over Taiwan, China is likely to keep traveling down this well-worn path—one that can give it much of what it desires at a tiny fraction of the cost of an amphibious invasion. The tepid response to China’s coercion strategy thus far from the United States and its allies has done little to discourage leaders in Beijing. Building and militarizing outposts on the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, evicting the Philippines from Scarborough Shoal, and undermining Vietnam’s efforts to develop offshore oil and gas fields by blocking Hanoi’s physical access to the sites are among a litany of small successes that expand China’s control and build confidence in its capacity to scale up those efforts.


Pursuing such a gray-zone strategy entails some risks. China must carefully calibrate the timing and extent of its coercive activities to avoid counterproductive reactions from Washington and regional allies. Chinese actions to restrict or sever critical flows of food, fuel, or information to Taiwan, in particular, risk inviting symmetric responses from the United States. But the gray-zone approach also offers distinct advantages. Beijing can rely heavily on law enforcement and civilian assets in its activities against Taiwan, but the United States lacks the nonmilitary maritime forces required to respond in kind. Washington may turn toward economic or diplomatic measures, but these cannot directly reverse China’s physical and operational gains and are unlikely to impose costs sufficient to force China to change course.

The United States has struggled to coordinate effectively with allies and partners to prevent China’s progressively more coercive gray-zone actions. As long as Beijing does not directly impede the flow of commercial traffic through the Taiwan Strait, most countries are likely to remain on the sidelines. Some foreign actors, including China’s regional neighbors and commercial entities such as shipping firms, would likely accommodate many types of new restrictions Beijing might place on Taiwan. Multinational firms have already set a worrisome precedent of deferring to Beijing: Japanese and South Korean firms, for example, have for years deferred to Beijing’s notification rules (as opposed to those set by Taipei) for commercial flights traveling over the Taiwan Strait.

KEY CHANGE

If the United States and Taiwan remain narrowly focused on the Davidson Window, they will make decisions that are poorly matched to China’s more probable strategic choices. Investments in precision munitions and the forward deployment of large numbers of U.S. warships and aircraft in Asia are mismatched against Chinese actions calibrated to stay just beneath the threshold that would make these assets useful. Similarly, Taiwan’s pursuit of high-end military hardware such as submarines and fighter jets and upgraded military training focused on repelling Chinese invaders will do little to impede China’s creeping exercise of coercive control through law enforcement and other nonlethal tactics.

Instead, Taiwan should take the lead in proactively pushing back on China’s encroachment by creating buffer zones that protect its airspace, waters, and economy. Calling attention to Chinese gray-zone operations will not be sufficient on its own. Taiwan would benefit from focusing its defense investments on domain-awareness capabilities—for instance, acquiring more advanced ground- and sea-based sensors to better detect and monitor the presence of Chinese aircraft and ships in nearby airspace and waters. It should also build a large fleet of inexpensive air and sea drones that could support surveillance operations in Taiwan’s outlying areas and respond to the staggering scale of Chinese incursions at reasonable cost. Taiwan must also expand its coast guard to more assertively push back against the activities of China’s coast guard and maritime militia. Taipei has made some modest steps in these directions but is moving far too slowly to meet the challenges posed by China’s intensifying campaign. Taiwan will need to quickly increase its spending on the development of indigenous capabilities and focus any foreign military financing from the United States on these types of systems.

In the information domain, Taiwan should harden its communication systems and train a more sophisticated cyberdefense workforce. Even more important, Taiwan must accelerate its efforts to expand and diversify its satellite communications services and infrastructure to defend against Chinese attacks on its information networks and submarine Internet cables. Already, Taiwan has signed a contract with Eutelsat OneWeb—an analog to the Starlink system that has proved so vital in Ukraine—but it should take further steps to augment satellite bandwidth in the near term.

Washington will also be crucial to Taiwan’s buffer zone strategy. In April, Congress earmarked $2 billion for defense aid to the Indo-Pacific, but how this money will be allocated remains unclear. The United States should use a portion of available funds to bolster Taiwan’s aerial and maritime surveillance and intelligence capabilities and its fleets of air, sea, and subsurface drones. Washington should also consider an expanded role for the U.S. Coast Guard in and around the Taiwan Strait. Currently, U.S. Coast Guard forces patrol the exclusive economic zones of U.S. allies such as Japan and the Philippines, uphold the international Law of the Sea, and engage in exercises with regional partners. Extending the Coast Guard’s mandate in waters near Taiwan to include, for example, patrolling nearby fisheries with the aim of ensuring access and supporting resource conservation could push back against China’s efforts to control these areas while matching Beijing’s use of law enforcement vessels. Using Coast Guard vessels is less likely to provoke escalation than employing the U.S. Navy and better suits a policy aimed at preserving the fragile status quo.

Finally, the United States ought to coordinate with corporations to support Taiwan’s economic buffer, especially those that ship goods to the island via sea and air. An interagency group from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State should establish channels to assess emerging risks and share early warning indicators with the leaders of large multinational trading firms, shippers, and insurers. This exercise should be conducted in a private setting to facilitate contingency planning and provide governmental and military support for these corporations to undertake physical and financial preparations that will ensure Taiwan’s access to global markets.


If the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, the United States and Taiwan should be as focused on developing strategies to prevent Taiwan’s slow subjugation as they are on forestalling outright invasion. If Washington cannot alter its single-minded outlook, it could end up as a bystander as Taiwan slips under creeping Chinese control in a silent fait accompli.


*  ISAAC KARDON is Senior Fellow in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
JENNIFER KAVANAGH is Senior Fellow in the American Statecraft Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

本文於 修改第 1 次
回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘
引用網址:https://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=2976&aid=7229738
解放軍不是展現實力而是在排練攻台 -- Chris Panella
推薦1


胡卜凱
等級:8
留言加入好友

 
文章推薦人 (1)

胡卜凱

下文所討論各種「解放台灣」的方式,本城市也曾有多篇文章提及(包括拙見)另請參閱本攔下一篇相關評論

目前俄,烏纏鬥和中東戰火方興未艾,美國勢必沒有兵力和火力介入第三戰場。2027這個預訂日程轉瞬將至;該打包收拾細軟的人,趕快到大賣場挑幾個牢靠的皮箱吧

China's military isn't just putting on a show of force. It's rehearsing for the real deal, an assault on Taiwan.

, 05/25/24

*  China says its large-scale exercise surrounding Taiwan is a test of its ability to conduct a real assault.
*  The two-day drills are a joint force effort, coming directly after the inauguration of Taiwan's new president.
*  An invasion is just one of the many strategies China can employ to force Taiwan into submission.

China's large-scale military drills around Taiwan aren't just a show of force in response to the remarks of the democratic island's new president. It's also a kind of rehearsal.

China says the joint force live-fire exercise, lasting two days, is a test of its ability to launch 
a full-scale, lethal assault on Taiwan and ultimately force it to succumb to Beijing's rule.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army exercise "Joint Sword"
(「聯合利劍) began Thursday morning, focusing on "joint sea-air combat readiness patrols, joint seizure of comprehensive battlefield control, and joint precision strikes on key targets," Chinese state media reported.

BBC China Correspondent Stephen McDonell posted a segment from CCTV showing the intended purpose of the simulated airstrikes during the exercise, during which live missiles were used. The report identified potential critical targets as ports and airports, among other points.

On Friday, the Chinese military's Eastern Theater Command said that it was continuing the drills to "test the ability to jointly seize power, launch joint attacks and occupy key areas."

In other words, China is using these drills to see how its forces would effectively execute an assault against the island of Taiwan in addition to demonstrating to Taiwan that it has the ability to pull off such an operation.

As China's Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard conduct training operations around Taiwan's main island, as well as offshore islands, Taiwan has been sounding the alarm, sending out its forces to observe the exercises closely for signs of escalation.

Taiwan has scrambled fighter aircraft and put its naval and ground forces, including elements of its missile force, on alert.

Its defense ministry called the drills "irrational provocations and actions that undermine regional peace and stability."

"We stand by with firm will and restraint," the ministry added, saying, "We seek no conflicts, but we will not shy away from one. We have the confidence to safeguard our national security."

While "Joint Sword" isn't the first exercise of this kind, it is the largest in more than a year and comes just days after the inauguration of the island's newest president, the Democratic Progressive Party's Lai Ching-te, who is hated in Beijing for his positions on Taiwan's sovereignty.

Lai's election marked
a historic third consecutive term for the DPP, which often takes a stronger stance on cross-strait relations and prioritizes Taiwan's autonomy. Lai has indicated he'll largely continue his predecessor's policies, and he has already agitated the Chinese leaders in Beijing, who perceive Lai's recent rhetoric as fueling pro-independence sentiments. China has said the exercises are intended as "strong punishment."

Beijing has a lot to gain from the military drills, from understanding operation logistics and joint force cooperation to demonstrating military power to attempting to intimidate the people of Taiwan into accepting that unification is inevitable.

Training doesn't necessarily mean an invasion of Taiwan is imminent, but the drills are a stark reminder that China has never taken the use of force off the table with regard to Taiwan.

The use of force against Taiwan could take different forms, from an all-out assault to something like a blockade. The latter could cut Taiwan off from the rest of the world, prevent the US and its allies from coming to the island's aid, and potentially force Taiwan to give in to Beijing's demands.

Strikes on Taiwan's infrastructure, too, could leave its people without clean water or electricity, rapidly degrading the quality of life and potentially the island's will to resist.

But China could also pursue other courses of action. While the US and its allies are actively discussing how to respond to an assault on Taiwan, some experts believe they may be missing
more likely scenarios for China to take over Taiwan — some of which are already happening in the form of continuous pressure and coercion.


China and Taiwan - the basics

*  Why do China and Taiwan have poor relations? China sees the self-ruled island as a part of its territory and insists it should be unified with the mainland, by force if necessary. Taiwan sees itself as distinct
*  How is Taiwan governed? The island has its own constitution, democratically elected leaders, and about 300,000 active troops in its armed forces
*  Who recognises Taiwan? Only a few countries recognise Taiwan. Most recognise the Chinese government in Beijing instead. The US has no official ties with Taiwan but does have a law which requires it to provide the island with the means to defend itself

What's behind China-Taiwan tensions?
How China is fighting in the grey zone against Taiwan
Cat-and-mouse chase with China in hotly contested sea


本文於 修改第 2 次
回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘
引用網址:https://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=2976&aid=7229676
攻台前兆之淘金潮 -- Melissa Lawford
推薦1


胡卜凱
等級:8
留言加入好友

 
文章推薦人 (1)

胡卜凱

中國政府即使沒有101種囤購黃金的理由,至少也有十幾二十個。英國每日電訊報一向敵視中國,此文視之為亡鈇疑鄰的範例可也。不誇張的說,在某些人腦袋瓜裏,習總在天安門廣場放個屁都可以扯成攻台前兆


China’s $170bn gold rush triggers Taiwan invasion fears

, 04/30/24

China has built up a $170bn (£135bn) stockpile of gold after a record buying spree, in a move that has raised fears Beijing is preparing its economy for a possible conflict over Taiwan.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) bought 27 tonnes of gold in the first three months of the year, taking its reserves to a record high of 2,262 tonnes, according to data from the World Gold Council.

China has now been buying gold steadily since October 2022, marking its longest build up of the precious metal since at least 2000. The 17-month streak has increased its gold reserves by 16pc.

Gold is currently trading near a record high of $2,343 per troy ounce, valuing Beijing’s stockpile at $170.4bn.

Experts said China’s stockpiling was likely an effort to guard its economy against Western sanctions in the event of a conflict over Taiwan.

Jonathan Eyal, associate director at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said: “The relentless purchases and the sheer quantity are clear signs that this is a political project which is prioritised by the leadership in Beijing because of what they see is a looming confrontation with the United States.

“Of course it’s connected also to plans for a military invasion of Taiwan.”

President Xi Jinping has repeatedly said he wants to “reunify” China with Taiwan, using his New Year’s address to say that it was inevitable the island nation would fall under Beijing’s sway.

Taiwan is a long-time US ally and President Joe Biden has signalled he would be willing to send American troops to defend it in the event of an invasion.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, said of the gold stockpiling: “If they get much closer to bullying Taiwan and countries start to move their investments out of China, it will give them a bit of padding to be able to ride through some of the difficulties.”

Experts say China's stockpiling was likely an effort to guard against Western sanctions in the event of a conflict over Taiwan - Jia Fangwen/VCG via Getty Images

China’s central bank began purchasing gold shortly after Western nations froze Russian currency reserves held at foreign central banks in response to its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Western sanctions wiped out $350bn of Moscow’s foreign currency.

Mr Eyal said: “There is absolutely no question that the timing and the sustained nature of the purchases are all part of a lesson that [China] has drawn from the Ukraine war.”

He said China was likely building up gold reserves to protect it against dollar sanctions if it came into major confrontation with the West.

Mr Eyal added: “It was a major shock that it is possible to take sovereign holdings and freeze them. I think that was a fundamental change as far as Xi Jinping was concerned.”

China has increased gold as a share of its total financial reserves from 3.2pc to 4.6pc since October 2022, according to the World Gold Council. The country now has the sixth-largest gold stockpile in the world, just behind Russia.

John Reade, chief market strategist at the World Gold Council, said: “The sanctions placed upon the Central Bank of Russia following the Russian invasion of Ukraine back in 2022 made politicians and reserve managers realise that they are more at risk than perhaps they thought they were.

“If you offend the Western powers, then you can lose access to your foreign exchange reserves.”

Beijing’s stockpile is dwarfed by the holdings of the US, which has the largest reserves in the world. US holdings are worth $602bn, while the UK owns $23bn of the precious metal.

Mr Eyal said China’s urgency was clear given it is buying up vast amounts of gold at a time when prices are at historic highs. Its price has risen by almost a fifth over the last year, reaching an all-time high in recent weeks. The surge has coincided with fears of a spiralling conflict in the Middle East.

As well as stockpiling gold, President Xi has campaigned for self-sustaining agriculture in China. The PBOC has also been selling down its holdings of US government debt.

Mr Eyal said: “The most important thing is this determination to be self-sufficient in both food and finances to withstand a long-term confrontation with the United States. I mean not months but years of confrontation with the United States, of the kind the West has with Russia at the moment.”

American military officials have warned that China aims to have the military capabilities to invade Taiwan by 2027.

Globally, central banks bought more gold in the first quarter of 2024 than during any other start of the year on record, according to the World Gold Council.

High inflation has been a key driver, but central banks in emerging economies are also increasing their gold purchases as an alternate store of wealth to US dollars, Mr Reade said.


Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.

本文於 修改第 1 次
回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘
引用網址:https://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=2976&aid=7228120
中國攻台預備工作現況--Chris Panella
推薦2


胡卜凱
等級:8
留言加入好友

 
文章推薦人 (2)

亓官先生
胡卜凱

請參見本欄即將刊出對此文的《評論》。


The red flags that will tell us when China's actually ready to invade Taiwan

, 04/27/24

(請至原網頁參看照片)

A host of warning signs point to China preparing for military action against Taiwan.

*  Experts say China could be readying for a showdown over the island.
*  US involvement, and Chinese leader Xi's goals, also factor into the timeline.

Tensions between China and Taiwan are reaching a boiling point, and many signs point to Chinese military action to seize the island by force, possibly in just a few years.

While a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be an incredibly complex and dangerous operation, influential China watchers are sounding the alarms over preparations almost certainly needed to seize the island — a buildup of China's naval forces, energy and food stockpiles, and large-scale military drills just off its coast.

"I don't think they lack for anything that they need," Lyle Goldstein, director of Asia engagement at Defense Priorities, said of China's forces. "You could always ask the question, 'Could they be more ready?' and I suppose there are some certain areas, but I, for a long time, maintained they have what they need to undertake the campaign."

What China needs for an all-out attack

The aircraft carrier Liaoning other Chinese navy ships during a drill in the Western Pacific Ocean on April 18, 2018.REUTERS/Stringer (請至原網頁參看照片)

China has pushed a rapid modernization of its armed forces over the past two decades that has alarmed US military officials and opened China leader Xi Jinping's options for how to reunify Taiwan, the democratic island of 24 million that Beijing views as a breakaway. China's navy, for example, has surpassed the size of the US fleet and its shipbuilding capacity is easily the largest in the world.

But there are questions around the quality of China's warships despite the sheer numbers, and whether it has the capacity for an amphibious assault against Taiwan's advanced weapons.

Taiwan's Ministry of Defense assessed in 2021 that China "lacks the landing vehicles and logistics required to launch an incursion into Taiwan." The US Department of Defense largely concurred, and the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission wrote something similar in its 2020 report, noting that while China had a "shortage of amphibious lift, or ships and aircraft capable of transporting troops the [Chinese military] needs to successfully subjugate the island," the PLA was looking into using civilian vessels to supplement that.

Chinese ships and aircraft that try to invade or blockade the island into submission would be highly vulnerable to Taiwan's arsenal of advanced weapons like F-16 fighter jets, Patriot missile batteries, and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The question is whether China has built an invasion force that can sustain the damage from these weapons in what would be the first amphibious invasion in seven decades.

Others have seen signs that China is corralling the civilian shipping needed to meet the heavy material needs of an amphibious invasion armada.

Thomas Shugart, a former US Navy submarine commander who's now an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security think tank, wrote for War on the Rocks in August 2021 that "Chinese leaders have already begun organizing civilian shipping into auxiliary units of the military," highlighting examples of large roll-on/roll-off ferries being employed in amphibious assault exercises, something Chinese media later confirmed, and adding that the civilian vessels were carrying both Marine Corps and ground force units.

While these ferries aren't necessarily designed for landing assault troops, Shugart noted, they are built to carry a large number of people, load ground forces quickly and with little warning, disembark their troops, and return for more; the US military also has fast-transport vessels and cargo ships to support operations.

"The evidence shows that these fleets are all ready to mobilize, really at a moment's notice," Goldstein said. "China has the biggest ports in the world and they're full of these ships, so putting them together into fleets to make this attack would be very quick, within days."

This photo taken on February 15, 2024, shows an aerial view of a China Coast Guard vessel and China Coast Guard personnel on a rubber boat over Scarborough Shoal in the disputed South China Sea.JAM STA ROSA / AFP (請至原網頁參看照片)  

Xi is a year-and-a-half into his third term as China's leader, and many of his recent moves suggest China is preparing for war. Xi successfully consolidated control over Hong Kong in 2020, and may have his eyes on a bigger prize.

In March, China dropped "peaceful reunification" when referring to Taiwan and announced a 7.2% increase in defense spending. Food and energy security, like petroleum reserves, have been stockpiled for years. New laws around civilian mobilization and economic self-reliance indicate Xi is preparing his people and the Chinese economy for the possibility of war. Military forces are being deployed nearer to Taiwan than ever, effectively shortening Taiwan's reaction time. Stockpiling of China's rocket force, too, suggests it would have more than enough missiles and rockets to target Taiwan.

Earlier this month, Mike Studeman, former commander of the Office of Naval Intelligence and director for intelligence for US Indo-Pacific Command, wrote in War on the Rocks: "There is no apparent countdown to D-day for initiating a blockade or invasion, but major strategic indicators clearly show that General Secretary Xi Jinping is still preparing his country for a showdown. Developments under way suggest Taiwan will face an existential crisis in single-digit years, most likely in the back half of the 2020s or front half of the 2030s."

Some experts assess China would lean into the element of surprise, a core facet in their military doctrine. One common concern is that as China's military exercises around Taiwan have grown in frequency and size, the line between exercise and potential attack is becoming blurred. "The bad news" with such a scenario, Dean Cheng, a senior advisor to the China program at the US Institute of Peace, said, "is they go to war with what they have on hand, because they probably haven't had a chance to deploy more forces forward, stock up munitions, get everything loaded and ready to go. How important is surprise versus how important is being able to sustain the operation?"

That ploy resembles the massive Russian build-up on Ukraine's borders prior to the 2022 invasion that officials had claimed was for field exercises.

Goldstein's estimate is that while it's still risky, "they have what they need, and they're ready to undertake" an attack. "I don't think we'll have a lot of warning," he added, noting a sudden set of actions that only unfolds over a period of hours would be more likely than many other clearer, long-term signs.

US involvement also factors in. "There is a possibility of American intervention which then goes to the question of how well can China conceal its preparations for an invasion?" Cheng said.

A Chinese ring of steel

Xi Jinping makes a public pledge of allegiance to the Constitution at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 10, 2023.Xie Huanchi/Xinhua via Getty Images (請至原網頁參看照片)

Experts, as well as US and Taiwan lawmakers and military officials, have long debated about the readiness of the People's Liberation Army as China's military is known.

"The PLA's modernization plan, we think, is still on track, and is aimed at a 2027 period," Cheng explained, with goals of being a fully modernized fighting force by then.

Before then, there's a higher risk that an assault attempt would fail or shatter Beijing's forces. "The PLA isn't going to make the call, however, about whether to invade Taiwan, that's going to be up to Chinese leadership, Xi in particular, and the rest of the Politburo Standing Committee," top leadership in the CCP, Cheng said.

China has indicated it will use force if necessary, but a full-scale invasion likely has dire consequences for China. Other actions — such as an air and maritime blockade, as noted in DoD's China report, limited force campaigns, air and missile campaigns, and seizure of Taiwan's smaller occupied islands — could be preferable, and China boats much of those capabilities already.

A blockade, for example, would give the US and its allies more time to respond than a sudden, bolt-from-the-blue surprise attack. "It's less risky in the sense that you're not going to have necessarily thousands killed, but you're giving Taiwan and the Americans time to organize a response," Cheng said.

There's also precedent at play: The US blockaded Cuba after it detected a deployment of Soviet nuclear missiles to the island in 1962 in what would become the Cold War's most dangerous crisis.

US involvement in defending Taiwan from China is a major unknown. A war game analysis from the Center for Strategic and International Studies from January 2023 reported that in most of the 24 runs, the US, Taiwan, and Japan defeated a conventional amphibious invasion by China, but suffered heavy and severe losses.

But with all of this comes the consideration that Xi's biggest priority is to reunify with Taiwan. As US Army Maj. Kyle Amonson and retired US Coast Guard Capt. Dane Egli wrote in 2023, much of when Xi decides to invade Taiwan comes down to how he wants to maintain his legacy in the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese society, as well as what accomplishing such a feat would do for him.

Scene for a showdown

A supporter of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) holds up a placard at an election campaign on January 12, 2024, in Tainan, Taiwan.Annabelle Chih/Getty Images (請至原網頁參看照片)

Cross-Strait relations have soured in recent years, especially with the Democratic Progressive Party in power since 2016, raising worries that military action for reunification is more likely and other options, such as diplomacy, aren't. The worst case scenario is a full-scale invasion, which would unleash all-out war and potentially trigger responses from the US, Japan, the Philippines, and others.

In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Beijing's economy was booming, Taiwanese students were traveling to the mainland for school work, and Chinese leadership likely believed Taiwan would eventually accept reunification.

"But the state of the economy and society, and the Chinese crackdown on Hong Kong, as well as other elements such as American actions, led Beijing to think time is no longer on their side," Cheng said. "Tensions are definitely higher now, but where I would draw the line is that it doesn't necessarily mean Beijing is about to launch an invasion."

Taiwan's military holds a large-scale exercise in the southern part of the island simulating an attempted amphibious landing by Chinese forces, May 30, 2019.Kyodo News Stills via Getty Images (請至原網頁參看照片)

Goldstein said that in tracking Chinese media closely, calls for reunification are more frequent and heated. "I am concerned that China may see some reason to go earlier rather than later," he explained.

Xi himself told US President Joe Biden in late 2023, "Look, peace is… all well and good, but at some point we need to move towards resolution."

本文於 修改第 3 次
回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘
引用網址:https://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=2976&aid=7227839
台灣自衛能力評估 ---- Cindy Wang/Peter Martin
推薦2


胡卜凱
等級:8
留言加入好友

 
文章推薦人 (2)

亓官先生
胡卜凱

這篇報導是「老生常談」的第N次版本。

台灣自衛最弱的環節是「戰鬥意志」;致命傷是兩岸實力無法跨越的巨大鴻溝。


Taiwan’s Ability to Defend Against China Invasion Thrown Into Question

, 12/20/23

(Bloomberg) -- When former US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien visited Taipei earlier this year, he suggested that one million AK47-wielding Taiwanese “around every corner” and “in every apartment block” would be an effective deterrent to any Chinese invasion plans.

It didn’t go down well.

“Arming citizens is not the answer,” ran the headline in the Taipei Times, over an op-ed responding to his proposal to make the assault rifle widely available in a territory with one of the world’s lowest crime rates. “Ludicrous and unimaginable” was former President Ma Ying-jeou’s verdict, condemning what he called the island’s “weaponization” and a “tendency to turn Taiwan into a second Ukraine.”

The outcry over a remark by a straight-talking former US official points to the challenge of preparing Taiwanese society for the worst-case scenario with China. For all the support given by Washington, the reality is that when it comes to both civil and military defense, the democratically governed island still has a lot to do.

Taiwan is far from ready,” former Chief of the General Staff Lee Hsi-min said in an interview, citing “lots of improvements” that are needed in areas from weapons acquisition to civilian training. Deterrence is key, and equipment can of course help, he said, “but the most important thing is whether you have the will to defend yourself.”

Conversations with US-based security analysts and former administration officials, as well as with members of the government in Taipei, cast doubt on Taiwan’s ability to deter, let alone resist China — with some even questioning the will to do so.

The US sees important progress being made by the government in Taipei, “but the administration is also concerned that the threat facing Taiwan is significant and growing, and as a result more is needed to ensure Taiwan is keeping pace with that threat,” said Jennifer Welch, chief geo-economics analyst with Bloomberg Economics, who served as director for China and Taiwan on the US National Security Council until this year.

Those concerns have been fanned by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and are all the more acute going into January elections that are likely to determine the degree of strains with China across the Strait of Taiwan. Polls show a lead for Vice President Lai Ching-te, who wants to strengthen ties with Washington, suggesting no easing of tensions in sight.

The wars in Ukraine and in Gaza show that preparations need to go beyond the military field to areas including critical infrastructure security, civil resilience, cybersecurity, and continuity of operations and government, said Welch. “This is a massive undertaking that naturally requires significant time and resources,” she said.

Among the issues officials and analysts cite are the size of Taiwan’s military, which has shrunk in recent years, with the number of voluntary recruits dropping to a four-year low. A 12.5% increase in defense spending this year on last has only amplified questions over the suitability of the kit being purchased. And the state of unreadiness is compounded by a backlog in US arms sales to Taiwan including F-16 fighter jets and Abrams M-1 tanks that the Cato Institute estimates at more than $19 billion.

“I don’t think Taiwan is in very good shape,” said Kevin McCauley, former senior China analyst for the US Army National Ground Intelligence Center. “They are not making the right modernization decisions,” from buying heavy M-1 tanks and large ships “that won’t survive” to poor training. “They’re talking about how they’ll improve these things,” he said. “But I don’t see it.”

Oriana Skylar Mastro, a Center Fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, said that if it came to war with China, “Taiwan 200% will fall.”

“It’s an island. They run out of food and gas in 40 days,” she said. “A blockade is risky because it gives Taiwan time for the US to arrive. So the question is: can Taiwan hold off long enough to allow the US to arrive?” The assessment of the US government, she said, “is that they cannot hold out long.”

President Xi Jinping said during his November visit to San Francisco that China wasn’t preparing to “fight a cold war or a hot war with anyone.” But that’s done little to calm speculation over Beijing’s intentions, since it openly claims Taiwan as Chinese territory. For his part, President Joe Biden has repeatedly said that the US would come to the self-governing island’s assistance if it was attacked.

Department of Defense spokesman Martin Meiners said the US is focused on preventing military conflict over Taiwan “with both deterrence and diplomacy,” adding that “our entire policy is geared toward that goal.”

There’s no current information to suggest a war in the Taiwan Strait is imminent, the director general of the National Security Bureau, Tsai Ming-yen, said in October. But he noted that the Chinese Communist Party “has not given up its intention to invade.”

Beijing and the People’s Liberation Army have used that grey zone of uncertainty to conduct a campaign of intimidation spanning the gamut from military harassment, economic coercion and diplomatic oppression to spreading fake news, according to officials in Taipei. Most visibly, it carries out frequent incursions across the median line of the Taiwan Strait, a tacit boundary that has separated the rivals for decades, and the government has warned it expects more intimidation heading into the elections.

Maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait “will require heightened urgency, attention, and resources in the critical years ahead,” US Assistant Defense Secretary Ely Ratner said in September.

Taiwan is actively discussing and exploring all possibilities with the US to strengthen its defenses, whether civil, military, or infrastructure, said a senior government official in Taipei, asking not to be named discussing private contacts. Some adjustments are ongoing, the official said, citing work with Taiwan’s tech sector to produce thousands of drones by 2024.

With China’s intimidation, Taiwan’s government concludes that it can’t discount any possibility — including that an unexpected accident triggers an escalation, said the official. So the emphasis is on preparing for the worst, something Taiwan has actively been doing since 1949 and its split from Communist China.

There is discussion over whether China would attempt a full-scale invasion or rely on a blockade to choke off Taiwan economically. Both carry risks for the aggressor, but analysts say that China doesn’t have the ships required to pull off an invasion – yet.

Taiwan meanwhile needs anti-ship missiles, air-defense systems, air and sea drones, and smart mines “to make such invasion a virtual impossibility,” says Dmitri Alperovitch, executive chairman of the Silverado Policy Accelerator think tank.

Still, the island’s mountainous terrain, rivers, and shallow waters in the Taiwan Strait make it “one of the most defendable places in the world,” said Alperovitch, author of a forthcoming book, “World on the Brink: How America Can Beat China in the Race for the Twenty-First Century.”

Limited stretches of coastline where invaders could establish a beachhead, the location of fish farms behind those beaches, plus the fact that few highways lead to the capital would all further impede the progress of any invading force.

Walk through central Taipei of an evening and the malls are full, designer shops crowded, and teenagers with boom boxes perform K-pop dance routines in the street. There’s little outward sign that this is an island at the nexus of global tensions.

Taiwan has attracted over $70 billion from returning Taiwanese businesses since 2019, while foreign investment in 2022 was the highest in almost 15 years, outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen said at an opening ceremony for a Micron Technology Inc. plant on Nov. 6. The US memory chip company’s presence endorses Taiwan as a safe place to invest, she said.

Equally, the island’s relative affluence may help inure its citizens to the threat of conflict.


Polls suggest that a little more than half of respondents are willing to defend Taiwan if China attacks, meaning that “some 40% of Taiwanese people are likely to choose capitulation or rapprochement,” said Puma Shen, associate professor at National Taipei University and the co-founder of Kuma Academy, a private organization dedicated to building civil defense. For Shen, the most important step for Taiwan “is to enhance the public’s awareness of friend and foe,” he said. “Without it, all other preparations are meaningless.”


That ambiguity is reflected in Taiwan’s political landscape, with some presidential candidates more willing to engage with China than others, potentially influencing the response to any future collision with Beijing.


Eric Heginbotham, a principal research scientist at MIT’s Center for International Studies and a specialist in Asian security issues, said that he “wouldn’t be shocked if Taiwan threw up its hands in the first days of a conflict,” especially if the US was not “visibly committed.” At the same time, he acknowledged that many similarly expected an early surrender in Ukraine that failed to materialize. Even leaving that aside, he said, the Taiwanese are “not well prepared psychologically or materially, and their training is not sufficiently realistic.”


It’s not just Taiwan. The pace of US preparation is “still inadequate to the scale of the challenge,” according to Bruce Jones, senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. Deficiencies include stockpiling relevant munitions as well as readying the US public for “a deep crisis in the western Pacific” that could mean the significant loss of American lives.


Taiwan’s 2023 Defense Report says the threat is building. China is “expanding military capabilities at scale,” including constructing airfields along its eastern and southern coastline and stationing new fighters and drones there permanently to “seize air superiority in the event of war across the Taiwan Strait.” It’s just 8 minutes flying time from the closest airfield to Taipei, according to some estimates.


If those threats turned into action, Taiwan’s strategy is to pre-emptively strike the mobilizing invasion forces, then use its geographical advantage to attack its enemy during the most vulnerable phase of crossing the strait, according to the Defense Report.


Capabilities are another matter, though.


Wellington Koo, the head of Taiwan’s National Security Council, points to a reform of defense policy that means from 2024 the draft will be extended to a year, helping to provide “realistic training to enhance combat power.” Yet further steps are needed on overhauling the reserve system, on joint forces training by the army, navy and air force, and on strengthening “whole society resilience,” he said at a Nov. 13 briefing.


Building that resilience is the aim of annual exercises — this year’s scenario was a magnitude 6.9 earthquake striking the island’s main chipmaking hub in the northern city of Hsinchu — as well as simulated cyberattacks on key infrastructure such as the state water or oil company.


The goal is “to establish a mechanism and resilience that we can deal with no matter what kind of disaster, whether it’s war or natural disaster — we all need to deal with it,” Interior Minister Lin Yu-chang said in an interview.


That’s what Enoch Wu is working to advance. Wu founded Forward Alliance in 2020, a non-profit that provides emergency training with the ethos that citizens’ responses determine whether a society can come through crises. He sees Taiwan as “in a race against time” given Beijing’s clear sense of urgency. “We need to respond accordingly,” said Wu. “Given we’re on the front line, we need to do more.”


Forward Alliance instructors — serving firefighters and medical personnel — were at work on a recent November afternoon at a police department in New Taipei City, giving training on tactical emergency casualty care to officers. Taught how to use a tourniquet to stop bleeding and treating chest wounds, it seemed more suited to a war zone than an island where strict laws on ownership mean gun crime is rare.


For Lin, the interior minister, preparations are necessary for all eventualities. “Peace is important — no one wants to go to war,” he said. “But Taiwan is a society facing lots of risks.”


--With assistance from Jennifer Creery.


本文於 修改第 2 次
回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘
引用網址:https://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=2976&aid=7219421
習拜會中的「兩岸關係」話題 - Tom Porter
推薦2


胡卜凱
等級:8
留言加入好友

 
文章推薦人 (2)

亓官先生
胡卜凱

Xi straight-up told Biden that China is going to take over Taiwan, report says. It could end in war.

, 12/20/23

*  Chinese leader Xi Jinping told President Joe Biden China intended to rule Taiwan, NBC News reported.
The conversation took place on the fringes of the Apec summit in November.
Tensions are increasing between China and Taiwan ahead of the election.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping told President Joe Biden that China intended to take control of Taiwan in a face-to-face meeting last month, 
NBC News reported.

The report, citing three former and current US officials, said that the remarks were made during a meeting on the fringes of the Apec 
summit in San Francisco in November.

While official readouts of the meeting emphasized the common ground the leaders found on issues such as the climate crisis, the report indicated that long-standing tensions over the de facto autonomy of Taiwan also surfaced.

Xi bluntly asserted the Chinese right to rule Taiwan and said it would prefer to take it peacefully not by force, according to NBC.

The Chinese leader reportedly denied US intelligence claims that China 
intended to be ready to seize Taiwan by 2027, saying the timing had not been decided.

The report echoes details of the meeting 
reported by Japanese outlet Nikkei, which characterized Xi's remarks on Taiwan as an attempt to dial down tensions, emphasizing that China wasn't planning military action, but laying out the conditions under which it would attack.

The Chinese president is under pressure amid economic turmoil in China, and at the meeting sought to smooth ties with the US and American business leaders in a bid to secure investment.

China has long asserted its right to rule Taiwan, which claimed its independence from China's communist government after the civil war in the 1940s.

In recent speeches, Xi has menaced Taiwan with the prospect of invasion, and US officials are increasingly concerned that Xi is planning on seizing control of Taiwan by force.

Biden has said that the US would come to the defense of Taiwan if it's attacked, though the remarks were modified by the White House.

The US has long maintained a position of "strategic ambiguity" on Taiwan, acknowledging Chinese claims to rule the territory yet hinting that it could defend Taiwan's right to self-governance if it's attacked.

Tensions have been increasing between Taiwan and the mainland in the run-up to Taiwan's elections next month.


本文於 修改第 1 次
回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘
引用網址:https://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=2976&aid=7219254
中國攻台五大戰略 ------ Hal Brands
推薦1


胡卜凱
等級:8
留言加入好友

 
文章推薦人 (1)

胡卜凱

(請見參考本欄上一篇對此文的評論)

How Would China Take Over Taiwan? One of These 5 Strategies

Hal Brands, 11/05/23

While conflicts in Ukraine and Israel have dominated the world’s attention, this year has been relatively quiet in the Taiwan Strait. Next year may not be.

Taiwan is fast approaching its next presidential election, in January 2024. Once that vote is over, Beijing may try to discipline Taiwan’s new government by demonstrating how formidable Chinese power — military and otherwise — is. And as the chances of another crisis in the strait increase, so will the world’s attention to the prospect of conflict there.

The last such crisis, in August 2022, convinced many observers that Chinese leader Xi Jinping was set on bringing Taiwan to heel. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns 
reported that Xi had ordered his People’s Liberation Army to be ready for action by 2027. Provocative PLA exercises showed off many of the tools needed for an invasion or a blockade. All this set off a guessing game in Washington about when the climactic fight for Taiwan might come. But just as important as “when” and “whether” is “what”: If Xi does try to compel unification of the “renegade province,” what type of action might he take?

This isn’t a simple invade-or-don’t-invade binary. China has at least five possible strategies for squeezing and perhaps subjugating Taiwan. They range from what is already happening today — systematic, short-of-war coercion — to a full-on invasion, with options including blockade, bombardment and small seizures of Taiwanese territory in between.

There is a vigorous, if quiet, debate in US national security circles about which path Xi might take, and how Washington and Taipei might respond. Just as important, though, unpacking these possibilities illustrates the dilemmas each strategy poses for Beijing. The best chance for peace may lie in the fact that all of Xi’s options for taking Taiwan are shot through with risks and potentially fatal problems. The greatest risk of war, unfortunately, may come if the shortcomings of less-violent options push Xi toward the most brutal approach of all.

Xi’s preferred option is the one he’s pursuing 
right now: Coercion below the threshold of war. For years, the PLA has been ramping up aggressive activities — such as flying into Taiwan’s air-defense identification zone and barreling across the center line of the strait — designed to exhaust Taiwan’s military, reduce its physical space and create a sense that the island is unable to defend itself. Disinformation, cyberattacks and efforts to isolate Taiwan diplomatically round out this campaign.

In this sense, the fight for Taiwan is happening every day. Exert unyielding, intensifying pressure, the thinking goes, and Taiwan’s population will see the inevitability of unification with Beijing.

Coerced but peaceful unification is Xi’s preferred option because he knows what existential dangers war can bring. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine is a warning that violent conquest can backfire catastrophically. In the South China Sea, by contrast, China has 
surged to supremacy by using coercive but mostly nonviolent tactics — such as building artificial islands that serve as military bases — to shift the status quo.

Xi would surely 
love to “win without fighting” in the Taiwan Strait, as well. The trouble is that this strategy isn’t working. Its effect on Taiwanese politics has been perverse: Over the past decade, Chinese pressure has undermined the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party, or KMT, and empowered the more hawkish, independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party.

Support for unification among the Taiwanese populace is vanishingly small, especially since Xi’s ruthless crackdown in Hong Kong in 2019. At the same time, a distinctive sense of Taiwanese identify is growing stronger, not just among DPP voters but among the population as a whole. And if Xi hopes to peel international support away from Taiwan, his tactics are doing the reverse: The US is increasing arms sales, expanding high-level visits and otherwise doubling down in its relationship with Taipei.

If DPP candidate Lai Ching-te wins the 2024 elections — he 
currently leads in a fractured field — and delivers the party its third straight presidential term, Xi would have to ask whether coercion without war has failed. Even if the KMT or another contender triumphs, Xi may find that the center of gravity in Taiwanese politics has shifted, in ways that make peaceful unification most unlikely. Sooner or later, he might consider more escalatory options, like seizing one of Taiwan’s offshore islands.

Taiwan isn’t one island. It is a collection of islands, some of which are within swimming distance of the mainland. During the 1950s, Mao Zedong’s forces shelled two of those islands, Kinmen and Matsu, triggering crises with the US. Mao backed down, and the islands are still under Taipei’s control. But they — and their 140,000 residents — probably aren’t
defensible if the PLA attacks, perhaps by using subterfuge such as a supposed humanitarian crisis to put its forces ashore.

At first glance, this strategy seems devilishly clever. It would force Taiwan to decide between committing, and probably losing, much of its military in a futile effort to save the offshore islands, and watching as a slice of its territory is swallowed by Beijing.

This geopolitical microaggression would also wrong-foot Washington: The US could either fight China over some strategically meaningless specks or see its willingness to protect Taiwan’s security called into question. Taking an offshore island or two would thus demonstrate China’s military dominance while creating hard choices and perhaps dissension for its enemies.

But how smart, really, is a strategy that requires Beijing to use force — thereby crossing a fateful threshold — without delivering decisive results? After all, taking an offshore island wouldn’t give Beijing control of Taiwan.

Such naked territorial aggression might, however, turbocharge Taiwan’s sluggish defense 
reforms, catalyze a more formal anti-China alliance in the region, and convince the US to issue clearer commitments to defend Taiwan’s remaining islands. It might even lead Washington to station US forces on Formosa, the main island, making a future Chinese invasion vastly more complicated.

An island seizure would humiliate Taiwan, but wouldn’t defeat it. It could turn out to be a small step that makes every subsequent step harder to take.

A third option would be the 
blockade. In this scenario, Xi would seize upon some pretext to cut Taiwan off from the outside world.

A blockade could consist of anything from a full-bore physical quarantine, enforced by warships and military aircraft, to aggressive “customs inspections” of ships trying to access Taiwan, combined with missile tests that scare off maritime traffic by splashing down outside Taiwan’s ports. It might be accompanied by cyberattacks on financial institutions and other economic infrastructure. A blockade could be tight or deliberately leaky; it could be short, if intended as a warning of unpleasant things to come, or long, if meant to destroy Taiwan’s economy, starve its population and force its surrender.

The blockade scenario is 
commanding attention in US national security circles, for good reason. Unlike an island seizure, the encirclement approach wouldn’t necessarily require China to fire the first shot, at least in theory. But it could make life extremely precarious for Taiwan, which depends on imported food, fuel and other essentials. The democratic world would probably respond with harsh sanctions on China, but Taipei might crack before Beijing does. A blockade would exploit Taiwan’s fundamental geographic vulnerability — its isolation — and perhaps compel its people to accept unification as the price of survival.

But the blockade isn’t some magic weapon. There’s no guarantee economic deprivation will make Taiwan capitulate: Historically, blockades have rarely caused enemies to surrender, unless combined with other ferocious pressures. Even in the best-case scenario, a blockade would take time to work, which would give Washington and its allies time to organize a response.

The US would probably probably flood the Western Pacific with attack submarines and otherwise position its forces exactly as it would want them arrayed if war broke out. The US military could then try to break the blockade by sailing and flying supplies into Taiwan — as hard as that would be across the vast distances of the Western Pacific — effectively daring Beijing to interfere. In other words, enforcing a blockade might still require China to fire the first shot, and thereby start a war its enemies have readied themselves to fight.

If a blockade isn’t sufficient, China might choose a fourth optionbombardment. Blasting Taiwan with bombs and ballistic missiles could help intensify the effects of a blockade by 
destroying road networks that connect Taiwan’s most accessible ports to its most important cities. It could wreck Taiwan’s navy and air force. At its most ambitious, a bombardment campaign would aim to coerce unification by breaking the will of the population — a modern-day version of Germany’s World War II blitz.

Bombardment makes sense if one thinks Taiwan’s fundamental weakness is lack of will to fight. In a place where mandatory military service is 
unpopular and defense spending is rising but inadequate, perhaps the population would knuckle under rather than endure persistent terror from above.

A bombardment campaign would feature some of China’s most formidable advantages, such as the world’s 
largest ground-based missile force, while avoiding the massive complexity of an amphibious invasion. So long as Beijing didn’t begin this campaign by also hitting US bases in the Western Pacific, it would force Washington to decide whether to intervene on behalf of a friend that might not hold out.

Still, uncertainties abound. Even if a bombing campaign destroys many targets, there’s no assurance that military punishment will yield the political objective Xi seeks: Convincing the government and populace of Taiwan to surrender to Beijing. Previous bombing campaigns have sometimes hardened the will to resist an aggressor: That’s what ultimately happened when the Luftwaffe 
bombed Britain.

And if any bombardment campaign doesn’t succeed quickly, its risks dramatically increase: The longer Beijing is pounding Taiwan and killing its people, the more international outrage it will generate, and the greater the chance of intervention by America and other states. If China seeks a truly decisive outcome, it may have to consider a more drastic, comprehensive assault.

The fifth and final option is the nightmare scenario. A full-scale
invasion would likely begin with a massive airstrike against Taiwan’s armed forces and critical infrastructure, coupled with sabotage and attempts to assassinate its leadership. The PLA would then try to seize beaches, ports and airfields, using them to ferry in the troops and supplies necessary to conquer the island. Xi’s navy would seek to isolate Taiwan from foreign interference or support.

Along the way, China might 
hammer US forces with surprise missile attacks on American bases in Guam and Japan, and on aircraft carriers in the Western Pacific. Or perhaps it would use the threat of nuclear escalation to deter Washington from getting involved.

The attraction of this approach is its directness. There would be no waiting for a blockade to slowly squeeze the life out of Taiwan’s economy. China would exploit speed, brutality and proximity to resolve the Taiwan question before anyone could get in the way. It would then confront America and the world with a fait accompli that would be horribly bloody to reverse.

It’s a mistake to think that Xi would never try something so shocking. China has a long 
tradition of starting its wars with surprise attacks, as US forces discovered in Korea in 1950 and the Vietnamese learned in 1979. Chinese military doctrine places a premium on rapid, overwhelming assaults. And if China is motivated enough to use force against Taiwan, it might be motivated enough to use force as decisively as possible.

But still, the dangers would be enormous. Taiwan has mountains, jungles, cities and other terrain favorable to defense. It is protected by more than 100 miles of rough, hard-to-cross water.

An invasion would probably require air- or sea-lifting more than 100,000 troops onto hostile territory, while controlling the air and water around Taiwan — a 
military operation as impressive as any in history. It might well trigger intervention by the US, Japan and other countries; even if the invasion succeeded, it would devastate the very territory China seeks to control. And this approach, like any use of force, confronts Beijing with an awful dilemma.

China would have to make an epoch-defining choice on day one of any invasion attempt: whether to attack US forces in the region. If Beijing didn’t do so, its ships and troops would be sitting ducks for US airpower and sea power if Washington opted to get directly involved. But if China did attack US forces, killing hundreds or thousands of Americans, it has probably started a war with a vengeful superpower — one that risks destroying the mighty, ascendant China Xi means to create.

To be clear, there is no evidence Xi has decided to escalate the confrontation with Taiwan, even though he clearly 
wants the ability to do so. If Beijing tries to squeeze Taiwan tighter in 2024 or after, it might just redouble its coercion short of war, through military exercises, economic warfare and other means.

In practice, moreover, Xi’s five options would blend together. An invasion would be accompanied by bombardment and blockade. Likewise, one advantage of intensifying peacetime military activities near Taiwan is to make it harder for Washington and Taipei to determine when Beijing is actually preparing for war. Nonetheless, breaking out the different options is helpful in understanding the many varied ways China can give Taiwan a hard time — as well as why Beijing might think twice about any of them.

None of China’s options are ideal, or close to it. Coercion short of war may not work, if current results are any guide. Options like an island seizure or blockade require step-changes in Chinese aggression with no guarantee of strategic success. An attempt to conquer Taiwan brings risks ranging from military defeat — never a good look for a dictator — to World War III.

If Taiwan, the US and their friends can keep the price of aggression high, while also reassuring Beijing that inaction won’t simply result in Taiwanese independence — which no Chinese government can accept — perhaps Xi will decide that tolerating an awkward status quo isn’t as costly as changing it.

Or perhaps not. Xi may not be willing to live indefinitely with a status quo he probably considers unjust, even insulting, to a China that he feels is reclaiming its proper place atop Asia and the world. He doesn’t seem to understand how his own 
actions have undermined the status quo by promoting the anti-China turn in Taiwan’s politics and strengthening the US-led alliances Beijing purports to fear.

Xi’s country is rapidly developing the military strengths that might allow it to resolve the Taiwan question by force. “Whatever its actual intentions may be I could not say, but China is preparing for a war and specifically for a war with the United States,” Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall
recently said. And if Xi elects to force the issue, the weaknesses of options like blockade or island-seizure could push him toward more severe, violent methods that offer — at least in theory — decisive results.

Such a decision could have baleful consequences for China and the world. But history is littered with wars that their instigators came to regret. The US and its friends need to be 
ready for all the courses Xi might pursue — especially the one whose effects would be most catastrophic.

本文於 修改第 4 次
回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘
引用網址:https://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=2976&aid=7216572
《中國攻台五大戰略》評論
推薦2


胡卜凱
等級:8
留言加入好友

 
文章推薦人 (2)

亓官先生
胡卜凱

0.  前言

布蘭德
教授這篇文章提出:中國可能採取的五個「解放台灣」戰略(請見本欄第三篇文章)。他對每個戰略的優勢、困難度、和可行性等做了分析。大致來說,他的觀點有一定的深度和可參考性;並非完全不靠譜的泛泛之談。當然,該文也免不了大多數外國學者談中國議題時,常有的膚淺和自以為是。

本文第一節只譯述布蘭德教授的五個戰略;請自行閱讀他的高見。第二、三兩節對我以上評論略做補充和申論。

1. 
全文要點

戰略1 – 「恐嚇和打壓」
戰略2 – 「佔據外島」
戰略3 --  「封鎖」
戰略4 --  「轟炸空襲」
戰略5 --  「大軍壓境」::

2. 
評論

當中、美在台海的軍力是五五波的情況下,「戰略1」和「戰略2」沒有達到「解放台灣」的能量;我就不予置評。

但我想指出:布蘭德教授在討論「戰略1」的脈絡中,所謂Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party” 一語,不是霧裡看花,就是惡意「戴紅帽子」。國民黨和民進黨在兩岸政策上並沒有本質上的不同;兩者都是準漢奸集團。文宣言詞上的不同在於:

a) 
兩黨的基本盤不同;出台亮相的打扮自然有異。
b) 
國民黨領袖群無恥的程度略低;知道做人不宜太讓人噁心。

戰略3 -- 「封鎖」

我認為布蘭德教授所說的:but Taipei might crack before Beijing does” 有點輕描淡寫。如果美、歐各國拿不出個解套方法,「封鎖」維持到六個月以上,台灣老百姓不一定能接受「統一」;但很可能不得不接受「一國兩制」。我做這個判斷的理由下面會提到。

戰略4 -- 「轟炸空襲」

我希望,也相信中國政府不會出此下策。因為,「台灣議題」不需要用這種造成傷亡的極端手段來解決。

另一方面,這是該文作者提出五個「戰略」中最具「成本效益」的一個。理由很簡單:

a) 
「轟炸空襲」免不了傷亡,但可以不造成大規模傷亡。以目前飛彈導航技術的精準度,中國空軍和火箭部隊可以定時、定點催毀海港,電信設施,公路、鐵路,以及水、火力發電廠。美國軍事評論家早就對這類非軍事目標戰術做過分析。它們並非我的獨到見解
b) 
台灣老百姓養尊處優了50多年;正如布蘭德教授所擔心的,90%以上的台灣同胞鐵定 lack of will to fight” ,也絕對經不起以上戰術所導致的折騰。「封鎖」需要到六個月以上才可能見效,「轟炸空襲」大概頂多一個月後就會讓整個台灣社會崩盤。

戰略5 -- 「大軍壓境」

我希望,也相信中國政府不會如此愚蠢和盲動。

我說過,解決「台灣議題」毫無急迫性。中國只需等到軍力在台海(不是全球)略勝美國一籌,美國政府將不得不退出西太平洋;就跟她退出越南、伊拉克、和阿富汗一樣。畢竟,美國的「核心利益」在於歐洲和以色列;不在亞太與台灣海峽。

3.  結論

1) 
布蘭德教授提出的五大戰略中,我認為:在目前只有「封鎖」和「轟炸空襲」兼具「可行性」和「成功性」。

2) 
布蘭德教授和絕大多數其他外籍學者一樣,在兩岸關係議題上都有不同程度(心理上的)認知偏差(認知能力上的)認知扭曲、或「選擇性無知(該欄第23兩文)。我指的是,這些人不知道或故意裝做不知道:兩岸老百姓不但同文化、同祖先、同語言;加上近二三十年的交流旅遊、工作、上學等經驗;早已使得人民之間沒有什麼隔閡。意願上當然仍對「統一」或「一國兩制」興趣缺缺(包括在下、區區、老夫、我);這也是目前民調所顯示的狀況但當生活面臨窘境或生命受到威脅時,中國幾千年文化所浸潤出來的「好死不如賴活」精神,必然發揮得淋漓盡致。第一群跪地求饒的台籍菁英,興許就是多年來靠欺騙老百姓而得以吃香喝辣的民進黨高層和綠營援嘴們。



本文於 修改第 4 次
回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘
引用網址:https://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=2976&aid=7216562