Sat, Sep 26, 2015 - Page 3 News List

US issues China invasion report

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter, in Washington

An invasion of Taiwan would be a “daunting undertaking” for China, a new US Congressional report released on Thursday said.

Prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the 34-page report titled “The Chinese Military: Overview and Issues for Congress” was realeased as Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) arrived in Washington for talks with US President Barack Obama.

“Over the past two decades, the main focus of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military planning and short-term operational readiness has been a potential conflict over Taiwan,” the report said.

It said that China has vowed to unify with Taiwan, using force if necessary.

In an unusual footnote, the report said that Beijing “contends” that Taiwan is a province that was seized from it by Japan during a time of Chinese weakness and that Taiwan must eventually reunify with the mainland.

“However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has never ruled Taiwan, which instead has been led by the Republic of China (ROC) government since the defeat of Japan in 1945,” the footnote said. “After losing the Chinese Civil War to the Communists, the Kuomintang (KMT)-ruled ROC retreated across the Taiwan Strait in 1949. Since that time, Taiwan’s political system has evolved from a one-party state under KMT rule into a multi-party democracy.”

Official US documents that mention Taiwan’s status often refer to the “one China” policy and do not usually point out that the CCP has never ruled the island.

The CRS report said that the PLA’s planning for a potential conflict over Taiwan also might deter Taiwan from declaring independence.

“The PLA has a high concentration of forces based in China’s southeast, near Taiwan, especially amphibious and airborne assault units,” it said.

Although the military balance across the Taiwan Strait has steadily shifted in favor of the PRC as its defense spending has dwarfed the ROC’s, the report said “an invasion of Taiwan would be a daunting undertaking.”

“The potential intervention of the US to defend Taiwan would present enormous challenges for the PLA,” it said. “[The] Department of Defense assesses that China continues to develop capabilities that serve to specifically dissuade, deter or if ordered, defeat possible third-party intervention during a large-scale, theater campaign such as a Taiwan contingency,” it said.

The report said that many US China-watchers assert that China’s main reason for strengthening the PLA is to ensure that the status of Taiwan is resolved on terms favorable to Beijing.

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