Sat, Jun 07, 2014 - Page 1 News List

China ‘focused’ on Taiwan conflict

MILITARY SPENDING:Despite reduced cross-strait tensions, China’s army is still focused on preparing for potential conflict with Taiwan, a Pentagon report said

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

It says that China appears prepared to defer the use of force as long as it believes that unification over the long term remains possible and the costs of conflict outweigh the benefits.

“The PLA is capable of increasingly sophisticated military action against Taiwan,” the report said.

“It is possible China would first pursue a measured approach characterized by signaling its readiness to use force, followed by a deliberate buildup of force to optimize the speed of engagement over strategic deception,” it said.

The report said that another option would be for China to sacrifice overt, large-scale preparations in favor of surprise to force rapid military or political resolution before other countries could respond.

“China today probably could not enforce a full military blockade, but its ability to do so will improve significantly over the next five or 10 years,” the report said.

In a limited campaign against Taiwan, China might use a variety of disruptive, punitive or lethal military actions in conjunction with overt and clandestine economic and political activities.

A campaign could include computer networks or limited kinetic attacks against Taiwan’s political, military and economic infrastructure to induce fear and degrade confidence in the Taipei leadership.

Large-scale amphibious invasion, the report said, is one of the most complicated and difficult military operations and an attempt to invade Taiwan would “invite international intervention.”

This would be a significant political and military risk, it said.

Moreover, China does not appear to be building the conventional amphibious lift required to support such a campaign, it said.

The report says that the second artillery is prepared to conduct missile attacks and precision strikes against Taiwan’s air defense systems, air bases, radar sites, missiles, space assets and communications facilities in an attempt to degrade Taiwan’s defenses, neutralize the nation’s leadership or break the public’s will to fight.

Meanwhile, the PLA air force has stationed a large number of advanced aircraft within close range of Taiwan, providing a significant capability to conduct air superiority and ground attack operations.

The PLA navy is improving anti-air and anti-surface warfare capabilities, developing a credible at-sea nuclear deterrent and introducing new platforms that are positioned to strike Taiwan.

PLA ground forces are conducting joint training exercises that are to prepare them for a Taiwan invasion scenario.

The report said that Taiwan has historically relied upon multiple military variables to deter PLA aggression: the PLA’s inability to project sufficient power across the Taiwan Strait, the nation’s military’s technological superiority and the inherent geographic advantages of island defense.

Yet, the report said, China’s increasingly modern weapons and platforms of more than 1,200 ballistic missiles, an anti-ship ballistic missile program, ships, submarines and combat aircraft “have eroded or negated many of these factors.”

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