The latest computerized scenario carried out by the military showed that in a war with China, Taipei would be occupied by enemy forces in just three days, a magazine report said yesterday.
Last month’s simulation, attended by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), came amid warnings that China was expected to increase the number of its missiles aimed at Taiwan by several hundred to more than 1,900 by the end of this year. These include ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and other weaponry deployed throughout China.
Under the scenario, which assumed war at next year’s force levels, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched intensive air raids on Taiwan before sending in ground troops from the sea and air, the Chinese-language Next Magazine reported.
The drill found that Chinese troops could march into Taipei on the third day of hostilities, seizing control of top military command facilities and the Presidential Office, Next said, quoting unnamed sources.
The results were a severe blow to Ma’s goal of building “solid defense and efficient deterrence” with a small but elite army, the magazine said.
During his presidential campaign, Ma vowed to build a stronger military as a deterrent against aggression by Beijing. Under Ma’s plan, Taipei has worked to achieve an all-volunteer force, but this will come at great cost to the defense budget, which is set at US$9.3 billion this year, a 6.9 percent drop from last year’s US$9.6 billion and US$10.5 billion in 2008.
The military must also cope with a number of aging defense systems that are due for refurbishing or replacement, including its F-16A/B fighter aircraft.
The Ministry of National Defense dismissed Next’s report.
The conclusion to this year’s scenario would be a dramatic departure from the computer simulation segment of the Han Kuang exercises held in June last year, in which, after seeing the air force and navy annihilated by PLA forces, reorganized army forces managed to mop up the eight divisions of Chinese soldiers that landed in the southern, central and northern parts of the country.
Last year’s scenario also did not factor in the possibility of decapitation attacks by the PLA, which had figured, albeit controversially, in previous years’ exercises.
Since Ma took office, the live-fire exercises accompanying the computer simulations have been canceled or downsized, which many have seen as a concession to rapprochement efforts. The military has also been instructed to prepare for humanitarian assistance and natural disasters over the possibility of a Chinese invasion.
In recent years, defense analysts have raised the specter of a shift in the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait, fears that stem from the US’ reluctance to sell Taipei advanced weaponry and years of double-digit growth in the declared PLA annual military budget. Recent reports conclude that the balance has now shifted in Beijing’s favor.
Under US-Taiwan security pacts, Taiwan’s military would be expected to hold off a Chinese invasion for 10 days to two weeks before US forces could intervene.
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
The US House of Representatives’ China Task Force, launched by Republicans earlier this year, yesterday proposed the China task force act, a package of 137 pieces of legislation, seven of which involve Taiwan, in the hope of getting it passed before the 117th US Congress convenes on Jan. 3. The act encompasses a wide range of issues, including combatting Beijing’s influence around the globe, establishing the US’ dominance in determining 5G network standards and means for bringing UN members to task for abusing their influence within the UN system. The seven acts involving Taiwan address concerns such as the Taiwan Assurance Act
Chinese health authorities investigating a COVID-19 outbreak have said that they discovered live coronavirus on frozen food packaging, a finding that suggests the virus can survive in cold supply chains. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday said that it had found traces of live COVID-19 on the outer packaging of frozen cod in the eastern city of Qingdao, marking the first time that live coronavirus has been detected on the outside of refrigerated goods. Researchers were investigating the source of a cluster of cases linked to a hospital in Qingdao. Genetic traces had previously been found in samples of
A Chinese soldier apprehended earlier this week by the Indian Army after he strayed across a tense de facto border was on Tuesday night handed back to China, an Indian government source in New Delhi said yesterday. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier had on Monday been captured in the Demchok area of eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army said in a statement. The Chinese military also released a statement, saying that Corporal Wang Yalong was handed over early yesterday. New Delhi on Monday said that it had detained Wang after he crossed into Indian-controlled territory, while China announced that Wang had gotten