China Unification Promotion Party (CUPP) founder Chang An-le (張安樂), known as the “White Wolf,” on July 15 and 16 attended a political forum in Shanghai called “Chinese Compatriots Across the Strait: Joining Hands to Realize the Chinese Dream.”
During the forum, Chang said that on the day China annexes Taiwan by force, he would call on the nation’s military commanders to surrender.
This reminded me of an interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave to NBC News prior to his meeting with US President Joe Biden last month. When the possibility of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan was mentioned, Putin scoffed.
I initially assumed that Putin did that out of embarrassment, but I asked some friends who are knowledgeable about Russia, and they gave me an insightful answer.
My friends had worked for the Russian Federal Security Service and have long-standing contacts with the Russian military, which is privy to private information about affairs in China.
They said that Putin scoffed because China does not have a comprehensive plan for attacking Taiwan.
As far as Russia is concerned, they said: “When China announces that it will forcibly annex Taiwan, it is just as ridiculous as if the South Korean government announced that it would invade Japan. It is a non-issue.”
“In our eyes, China’s level of hybrid warfare is akin to a child playing in the sand,” they said. “If Taiwan is well-prepared, China cannot hurt you. Taiwan does not need to win, it just needs to not lose. On the other hand, an unsuccessful Chinese invasion would be catastrophic.”
“Western countries often see Taiwan as an exemplar of democracy in the Chinese-speaking world,” they said. “That is absolutely not how we see things in Russia. Taiwan’s relationship with China is like Japan’s relationship with South Korea; two neighboring countries that carry historical baggage and do not get along. Taiwan and China have non-exchangeable strengths. Taiwan has no need to fear China.”
This completely overturned everything I had taken to be the case, because Taiwan has always thought that it knew more about what was going on in China and that Western democratic counties need to catch up in this regard. I would have never believed that Russia knew more about China than Taiwan does.
The nation does not have much communication with Russia, and the countries lack effective means of exchanging intelligence with each other. Yet this informal discussion between friends revealed China’s weaknesses and Taiwan’s strengths.
Taiwan is far ahead in terms of hardware and technology, and this additional knowledge should give Taiwanese confidence and reassurance.
Wang Wen-sheng is a retired political operations officer and is enrolled in a doctoral program at Jindal University in India.
Translated by Paul Cooper
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