On Nov. 28, Minister of National Defense Lee Tien-yu (李天羽) said during a question-and-answer session at the legislature that the military would be capable of destroying 60 percent to 70 percent of China's troops in case of an invasion.
But Lee did not include the possibility of a Chinese formation of aircraft carrier battle groups in his analysis of the combat strengths of Taiwan and China.
Taiwan must prepare for the development of Chinese aircraft carrier battle groups.
It is a well-known fact that an aircraft carrier without a battle group is worthless.
With the exception of cruisers, China's military already has all the destroyers, frigates, submarines and support ships it needs.
All it must acquire now are aircraft carriers itself and the fighter aircraft for them.
China is the world's third-largest ship builder and it would not be too difficult for it to build medium-sized aircraft carriers weighing about 50,000 tonnes.
As for carrier-based aircraft, China has already signed a deal with Russia to purchase Su-33 fighters and intends to remodel its Su-30 or J-10 fighters into carrier-based aircraft.
Acquiring the necessary equipment would not be so difficult, despite the fact that China needs to strengthen its training and C4ISR -- command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
With full political and financial support, China could be expected to have initial aircraft carrier battle groups within 10 years.
China is likely to build one aircraft carrier battle group for its East Sea Fleet and another for its South China Sea Fleet.
The task of the former would be to counter US power, with a short or medium-term goal of winning a battle to block access to the region.
The task of the latter would be to safeguard China's marine transport lines in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.
In the case of a cross-strait war, the East China Sea battle group would attack from the east while the South China Sea battle group would attack from the south.
In this situation, Taiwan could quickly find itself surrounded by Chinese ships.
As for battle group submarines, most of China's conventionally powered submarines, such as Gato class, Yuan class, and Song class submarines, belong to the East China Sea Fleet.
Within the next 10 or 15 years, China could be capable of amassing as many as 40 to 50 advanced conventionally powered submarines.
In addition to these, China has assigned a nuclear-powered submarine detachment to the North China Sea Fleet and has plans to form another.
If necessary, these two detachments -- one north, one south -- could join an aircraft carrier battle group during an attack on Taiwan.
But because of the continental shelf, the waters around Taiwan are more suitable for small, conventionally powered subs.
Nuclear-powered submarines would likely be responsible for supporting the carrier group attack on the east coast and cutting off US aid.
The People's Liberation Army's military expansion will not end here, however.
In evaluating China's combat capabilities, Taiwan must adopt a strategic viewpoint that is 10 or 15 years ahead. If it makes the mistake of keeping its eyes on the ground, a catastrophe could be waiting around the corner.
Cheng Ta-chen is an independent defense analyst.
Translated by Eddy Chang
Two weeks into a growing COVID-19 outbreak in the city of Eugene, Oregon, Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis had plenty to worry about — from how to protect the community’s homeless population to how to keep services functioning in the face of uncertainty. The novel coronavirus feels like a slow, invisible tsunami — the kind of risk that earthquake-threatened cities on the US’ west coast are more used to preparing for, she said. As infection takes hold across the US, “we know the wave is coming — we just don’t know how soon, how high,” she said by telephone. However, Vinis has been thinking
The step-by-step protocols that doctors learn in medical school just were not stopping the new coronavirus from killing people. There is a classic process for treating respiratory problems: First, give the patient an oxygen mask, or slide a small tube into the nose to provide an extra jolt of oxygen. If that is not enough, use a “Bi-Pap” machine, which pushes air into the lungs more forcefully. If that fails, move to a ventilator, which takes over the patient’s breathing. However, these procedures tend to fail with COVID-19 patients. Physicians found that by the time they reached that last step, it was
Alberto Mendoza figures that he can make it a couple of weeks on unemployment benefits before starting to decide which bills cannot be paid. The 26-year-old father of three lost his job training cooks when all the local restaurants started closing their doors and laying off staff. “I have to pay rent, my truck bills; I have three children to support,” he said. Mendoza is among thousands in Laredo, Texas, along the southern US border, who are teetering on the edge of financial ruin as the coronavirus pandemic takes hold — even though Laredo has seen no deaths and confirmed just 22
Since COVID-19 broke out in Taiwan, there has been a fair amount of news regarding discrimination and “witch hunts” against medical personnel, people under self-quarantine and other targets, such as the students of a school where an infection was discovered. Quarantine breakers are almost certainly on the loose and it is only natural for people to be vigilant. One in Chiayi was found by accident at a traffic stop because his helmet was not fastened. However, those who follow the rules by quarantining themselves should be encouraged to keep up the good work in a difficult situation, instead of being