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How Taiwan Would Defend Against a Chinese Attack

Taiwanese troops following an undated exercise.

Taiwanese troops following an undated exercise.

On March 6, Taiwan’s Minister of National Defense Yen Ming told the national legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee the country’s military could hold out “at least one month” alone against a Chinese invasion.

The estimate was a sharp reminder of how much the strategic equation has turned against Taiwan.

The days of Taiwan being an impregnable fortress appear to be over. China’s growing military, coupled with declining defense budgets in Taiwan, have shifted the balance of power to the point where defeat in an invasion scenario — barring foreign intervention — is now inevitable.

Despite daunting odds — Taiwan continues to build a military uniquely prepared for an asymmetric war with China.

65 Year Old Standoff

Flag_map_of_China_&_TaiwanTaiwan’s defenses are different from most countries because of the nature of its strategic position. Few countries see the need for surface-to-air missiles in land-based silos, nearly four-dozen fast missile boats, and a mountain hollowed out to shelter fighter aircraft.

Mainland China sees the island 110 miles away as a rogue province — one that is only separated temporarily. China has not only oriented a considerable amount of military force against Taiwan but also politically isolated the island around the world.

Taiwan figures in China’s long-term strategic planning. It is part of China’s so-called First Island Chain, the innermost defensive ring of islands that China considers essential for national defense. In the long term, controlling the island is in China’s interests both to shield the mainland and as a springboard to operate into the Second Island Chain.

China does not actively seek to invade Taiwan, but its military buildup is useful in intimidating Taiwan and would be necessary if a decision was made to invade. Military power could also be used in situations short of all-out war, such as a blockade or some other demonstration of strength.

The Republic of China’s armed forces number approximately 290,000, with 130,000 in the army, 45,000 in the navy and marine corps, and approximately 80,000 in the air force. Traditionally the army has been the dominant service, but that has shifted over the years. Taiwan’s military doctrine states that as much of any fighting that occurs should take place as far from population centers as possible. The army is only relevant once the enemy lands on the island, while the navy and air force can range over the strait.

Defense spending is 15.7 percent of the national budget. At roughly $10.5 billion, Taiwan’s 2014 defense budget represents 2.54 percent of GDP, down from 2.7 percent in 2013.

President Ma Ying-jeou has repeatedly promised to spend three percent of GDP on defense, but the global economic crisis of 2007-8 damaged Taiwan’s economy and like many the nation is still recovering.

Naval Power: Small Ships for Big Targets

The Republic of China Navy (RoCN) has transitioned from the most neglected arm of the Taiwanese military to the most important. The RoCN alone can defeat an invasion fleet at sea. Sinking amphibious transports not only takes a large ground force out of action, but also permanently degrades the enemy’s amphibious capability.

Taiwanese Navy Destroyer Suao

Taiwanese Navy Destroyer Suao

The RoCN has 26 large surface combatants, all of which have a potent anti-ship capability. The largest ships in the fleet are the four Kee Lung-class guided-missile destroyers, formerly the U.S. Kidd class destoyers.

At about 10,000 tons, each destroyer sports two Mk.26 twin surface to air missile (SAM) launch systems armed with Standard SM-2 Block IIIA surface-to-air missiles, two Mk. 45 127mm guns, four Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles and has a helicopter flight deck and hangar.

The remaining large surface vessels are a mixture of American and French designs.

Cheng Kung class frigates

Cheng Kung class frigates

The eight Cheung Kung class of guided missile frigates are a modified version of the long-hull Oliver Hazard Perry class. The class is armed with a Mk.13 missile launcher forward, capable of firing SM-1MR surface-to-air and Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and a 76mm Oto Melara gun amidships.

The frigates also carry 8 Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles, giving the small ships a powerful anti-ship capability. Each carries an S-70 Thunderhawk helicopter, an export variant of the SH-60B Seahawk.

Taiwan has eight frigates of the former U.S. Knox class destroyers, now the Chi Yang class. The ships mount the original armament of one Mk. 45 127mm gun and one ASROC launcher. The Chi Yang class has also been retrofitted with ten SM-1MR surface-to-air missiles in external canister launchers. The ships each carry one MD-500 ASW helicopter.

ROCN_kang_ding_classRounding out large surface combatants are the Kang Ting-class frigates. A modification of the La Fayette design, the Kang Ting frigates mount one 76mm gun and a navalized Chaparral missile launcher for air defense. 8 Hsiung Feng anti-ship missiles are carried, and typically one S-70 Thunderhawk helicopter.

Taiwan has made a significant investment in small, fast missile patrol craft designed to take on much larger Chinese surface and amphibious ships. Twelve missile patrol combatants of the Jing Chiang class were built — each 680 tons fully loaded — with a 76mm gun and mine-laying racks.

There are also 34 smaller ships of the 150 ton Kung Hua VI project. Ships of both classes are each equipped with 4 Hsiung Feng anti-ship missiles. This diminutive fleet collectively weighs just over 13,000 tons but altogether packs a total of 184 anti-ship missiles.

The RoCN’s submarine fleet consists of just four aging submarines. Two are of the U.S. Navy Tench class, Hai Shih and Hai Pao. Both were launched toward the end of the World War II and are used as training vessels. The other two submarines, Hai Hung and Hai Hu, are a Dutch design of mid-1980s vintage. Displacing 2,600 tons submerged, they were upgraded in 2013 with Harpoon II anti-ship missiles.

chung-ho-image5Taiwan has a modest-sized amphibious force, designed to move army and marine units by sea during wartime. The force is built around one dock landing ship formerly of the Anchorage class, Shui Hai, and two tank landing ships formerly of the Newport News class, Chung Ho and Chung Ping. The force can land up to four companies of AAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles or main battle tanks, and two companies of infantry.

Air Power Designed to Withstand a Siege
The Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) is optimized for air superiority. China could not successfully invade without seizing air superiority, and as a result Taiwan’s air force is seen as one of the primary deterrents to Chinese military action.

Taiwan’s fighters were state of the art in the 1990s, when most of the aircraft were purchased. Time and China’s air power buildup have eroded their technological edge — opening up the possibility that China could successfully contest air superiority over the island.

0230qThe RoCAF currently has 146 F-16 A/B Block 20 multirole fighters, armed with AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. It also operates 55 Mirage 2000 multirole fighters, armed with Magic air-to-air missiles. Rounding out Taiwan’s main fighter inventory are 126 Ching-kuo Indigenous Fighters, armed with locally developed Sky Sword II air-to-air missiles.

The Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite program, meant to upgrade both U.S. and Taiwanese F-16s with advanced AESA radar systems, is going forward without U.S. Air Force participation, which was pulled this month at the last minute. Washington has reassured Taiwan that the cost differential will be minimal and the upgrade program can proceed.

Taiwan’s fleet of support aircraft includes six E-2 Hawkeye airborne early-warning and air-control aircraft upgraded with APS-145 radars. One C-130 Hercules transport was converted into to an electronic warfare platform, while two RoCN S-70 Thunderhawks have been configured as signals intelligence collection aircraft.

P-3C Orion

P-3C Orion

Taiwan has for a long time lacked a strong maritime patrol aircraft force. Under the navy, a modest force of 20 S-2 Trackers in the 1990s is being replaced by a dozen P-3C Orions. The first Orion arrived in November 2013 and the last is scheduled to arrive in 2015.

In the event of war, the RoCAF’s air bases will come under heavy air attack, both by aircraft and missiles. China’s Second Artillery Corps has an estimated 1,500 conventionally armed short range ballistic missiles, many of which will likely be used in the counter-air role. Estimates are that it would take 50 direct hits to close a RoCAF air base to air operations.

The RoCAF is prepared to keep air bases open while under attack. Taiwan has the Rapid Runway Repair System, used by the U.S. Air Force, to repair runways damaged by enemy attack. The RoCAF also has the Portarrest P-IV mobile aircraft arresting system for landing aircraft on damaged runways.

The RoCAF has invested considerable resources in hardening base facilities. Chiashan Air Base, on the island’s eastern coast, includes a hollowed-out mountain that serves as a refuge for up to 100 Mirage 2000-5 and F-16 fighters. Two airfields serving the base are both at least 7,500 feet long. Chiashan is also a designated command post for counterattacks mounted by Taiwan against invading forces.

A second facility buried inside a mountain is Hengshan Command Center. Located on the outskirts of Taipei, Hengshan was completed in 1982 and serves as the national military command center in both peace and war. In wartime, it serves as the seat of Taiwan’s civilian government.

The air force also operates the nationwide air defense network, with 11 early warning sites overall. Main air defense is provided by Taiwan’s indigenously produced Tien Kung II surface-to-air missiles. Radar guided, Tien Kung II has a range of 125 miles and is deployed at six bases, four on Taiwan and two on nearby island groups.

Each base includes 80 missiles in underground silos and two target illumination radars. A range of 125 miles means Tien Kung missiles could theoretically engage targets over the mainland.

PAC-2 Patriot missile battery

PAC-2 Patriot missile battery

Taiwan also has seven Patriot missile batteries, which are converting from PAC-2 to PAC-3 status. Patriot missiles are concentrated around the cities of Taipei, Greater Taichung and Greater Kaohsiung.

Future Trends: Missiles, Submarines And Volunteers

Smaller defense budgets and an overwhelming Chinese conventional force have moved Taiwan toward asymmetrical systems and an anti-access, area denial capability all its own. Rather than matching China ship for ship and plane for plane, Taiwan is fielding systems that imperil China’s ability to operate in the Taiwan Strait.

Model of Hsun Hai missile corvette

Model of Hsun Hai missile corvette

One such example is the Hsun Hai, or “Swift Sea” program of small missile corvettes. The catamarans are capable of 38 knots and designed to have a minimal radar signature.

Armed with eight Hsiung Feng II and Hsuing Feng III anti-ship missiles, the corvettes have been dubbed “carrier killers” by the Taiwanese media. The first, Tuo River, was commissioned on March 14 and expected to be operational by mid-2015. Twelve ships are planned.

Submarines stand to be a key pillar of Taiwan’s asymmetrical approach. “After Taiwan has lost air and sea control, it’s the subs that will still be able to attack groups of amphibious landing aircraft,” Wang Jyh-perng, RoCN reserve captain told the Asia Times in 2011. However, no diesel-electric submarine builder — facing pressure from China — will sell Taiwan new submarines.

A 1980s vintage Hai-lang submarine, built in the Netherlands and operated by the Republic of China Navy. ROC Photo

A 1980s vintage Hai-lang submarine, built in the Netherlands and operated by the Republic of China Navy. ROC Photo

In January, Taiwan’s navy headquarters announced a 15-year upgrade plan for naval forces. Under the plan, a local shipbuilder has been directed to determine the feasibility of locally built submarines by June of this year. The project will not likely to succeed without outside help.

Another trend is the planned transition from a conscript military to an all-volunteer military. Social trends are undermining the existing draft system, as the system is growing unpopular and demographics are lowering the pool of potential manpower. Yet all-volunteer forces have dramatically higher personnel costs, and Taiwan’s defense budget has remained low. If Taiwan cannot offset these costs with additional defense spending, it seems inevitable the military will face a new round of reductions.

The Way Forward

031bbgTaiwan is playing a difficult hand. Seceding from the mainland outright would likely invoke a military response and anger its only ally, the United States. Matching China militarily is no longer possible, as China outspends Taiwan in defense 13 to 1. A hardline stance is increasingly unviable.

On the other hand, strong ideological differences still make reunification unpalatable to many Taiwanese. Taiwan is taking the middle ground of trying to maintain its economic position and higher standard of living relative to China, while deterring invasion by tailoring its military to specific threats. Taiwan may not be spending as much on defense as it should, but it has accepted the strategic realities, and that may well be the more difficult of the two.

  • The problem with Taiwan is that no country doesn’t want to build submarines for them. The only option for Taiwan is to buy the rights from America for the Barbel class SSK and build a more modernized version of the Barbel class SSK for them.

    • Rat Boy

      Too bad they can’t get Sweden to sell them a few Gotland class boats, or Germany to sell them the 214 class. They could really take it to a People’s Army Navy invasion fleet, or bottle up Shanghai and Hong Kong with mines.

      • Or maybe see if they buy the design rights for the Kilo/Lada/Amur class SSK and have Taiwan build it under Russian Supervision.

        • Christopher Chekosky

          That would be the day…Russia selling to Taiwan. That’s almost as ludicrous as suggesting “if only” North Korea could buy a few Virginia-class SSN’s and maybe build them under supervision.

          • The other option is to revive the Barbel class SSK for Taiwan and build a more updated version

          • Christopher Chekosky

            Nah. If Taiwan is going to develop an effective submarine force, it’s going to have to come from the domestic shipbuilding industry. Relying on outside help is not reliable enough for something like this.

    • JohnC

      The first sentence may be right. But not the second. If a state wants to built conventional submarines, why choose an American design? The USA know nothing about building modern conventional subs. The UK or Germany would be a better bet.

      • Problem is that the US Nuclear club would have a hissy fit. Though if they are building for export only, that maybe an option.

  • formosaforever

    USA needs to get its act together..you accept a Palestinian state with no guarantees of a stable country. Why cant USA be like the Russians…with guts…at least they do what is necessary to defend their strategic interests. Like Mongolia getting independence from Russia. USA should make Taiwan independent for its interest as well. Screw China

    • Bah

      Taiwan should first act like a country that wants to be independent. Quit cutting the military, build strong anti-ship and anti-air defenses, and if necessary build nuclear weapons.

      • Nathan W. Novak

        Right. And how many years have Taiwanese orders been backlogged in Washington? And what exactly are the chances of selling the F-35 to Taiwan if F-16 C/Ds won’t be sold because doing so would “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people”? There are orders for the Chen Shui-bian years still sitting there in DC.

        And by the way, it was also the Americans who several times ended past Taiwanese attempts at building nuclear weapons. In fact, according to several people I know personally who worked in those programs, the Americans destroyed the facilities while the Taiwanese scientists looked on.

        Under the Ma administration, the idea appears to be “we don’t want to buy, and you don’t want to sell.” That doesn’t represent the feeling among the average person here, who usually lets out a sigh of exasperation when another deal is denied or for one reason or other slips through the cracks. But it certainly works for the States, and particularly the Obama administration, which acts as though Taiwan doesn’t exist even as America “pivots”–er, “rebalances”–er, changes its rhetoric slightly to Asia. Even the Japanese are growing publicly nervous.

        • Isaias Reyes

          Unfortunately, the PRC is the regional power here, they in fact control the destiny of Taiwan. Some people in Taiwan realize that and that’s why they are cutting their military budget. they are alone in this and they know it.

          • John K

            I really feel bad for the Taiwanese, they should be a country but just got caught into the Chinese cival war. Now China is trying to claim Taiwan theirs. China should just leave Taiwan alone because they didn’t pay a single tax money to China, no relations at all!!!

          • joe Broz

            So…we abandon them?

      • John K

        If you have not notice, it’s what Taiwan is aiming for right now. They have build a WMD, controlled nuclear reaction (nuclear bomb) but got ceased by US’s CIA. But that’s in 1980s, who knows if they have built another one this day?

      • joe Broz

        Uh….Taiwan IS independent.

    • joe Broz

      Sorry, I don’t wanna be like the Russians. With over half their people starving and the Asian half virtually another country, they can only do what Putin keeps threatening: overtake other countries and commandeer their resources. The world has ample evidence that communism doesn’t work.

    • Guang Xu


    • JohnC

      Guts enough to invade tiny weak neighbours, like Georgia or Ukraine. Putin is a bully. Mind you Bush and Obama are cowards as well as bullies…..

  • CL

    Thousands of Taiwanese students were surrounding and occupying the Legislative Yuan (LY) in Taipei on March 19 after legislators from the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) expedited / black boxed the review process of a services trade pact with China that many fear could have damaging repercussions on Taiwan’s economy and sovereignty.

    A lot of the news wrongly thinks that the protesting Taiwanese students are doing something pointless and inane. In reality, the aggressive protest is less about a trade pact and more about anger over a perceived lack of transparency. The young people were demanding a proper review of the trade pact, and the ruling KMT apologizes for its unilateral move a day earlier to deliver the trade accord to the legislative floor without giving it a clause-by-clause review, which the party had previously promised. They want to stop the undemocratic coalition of some political elite in both Taiwan and China!!
    “Demand Substantial Review; Restart Negotiations With China.”

  • Genita Allera

    fight japanese….for war of chinese korean….laban kung laban dahil labanan n sa gera n at nag-declare ang china ng gera sa japan kaya panahon na para lumaban….

    • Irate OFW

      shush… stop blabbing pinay. go away and make me a sandwich. this talk is for the big boys only, ok. come back, when your BRP Gregorio del Pilar has a CIWS already.. ok

  • Genita Allera

    ang taiwan yon ang tunay n sector ng hapon or japanese…

  • Mounting an amphibious invasion is not an easy task. Invading Taiwan looks a lot like invading Normandy. The PLA is going to need to put five divisions ashore on the first day and then they will have to land follow-on to bring the total up to probably over 200,000 men. Then they must provide logistic support. But unlike the Normandy invasion, there are only limited opportunities for deception as to where the invasion will take place and both Sea Control and Air superiority contested.

    • Bah

      You are aware the invaders WON the battle of Normandy, right?

      • You are aware the invasion fleet required approximately 5000 ships?

        • dirk

          good comments Chuck

        • Jamie Quinones

          And a highly degraded German military defense. And even with all the allies threw at the them it was still a bloody fight.;

          • DrSique

            BINGO!!! And, China will need to access “accaptable” losses. They will not invade Taiwan in the face of a seriously degraded military capability. Weakness is vulnerability and China will not expose itself to others in the area, i.e. Japan, Vietnam, the Phillipines, etc………. All of the smaller nations in that sphere of influence should form a NATO type alliance that states an attack on one is an attack on all and begin joint military exercises. Watch the Chi-coms squirm.

        • Christopher Chekosky

          I’d urge you not to make comparisons to the logistics of World War II versus today as it’s two different universes in how amphibious operations are conducted.

        • joe Broz


      • joe Broz

        At huge cost. We lost twice as many men as expected, and certain turns of fate could have made us losers.

      • JohnC

        And are you aware that the ROC is much better equipped that Germany was – and incidentally the Germans were simultaneously fighting a five million strong Red Army in the East.

    • Christopher Chekosky

      No, they wouldn’t need “five divisions” on the first day.

      It would be a phased attack to maximize PLA advantages. The first days will be spent attacking and destroying their air defenses, air bases, C4 sites, navy assets still in port, logistics depots, etc as well as seizing western most islands such as Peng Hu. The following days would see the PLA Navy eliminating deployed vessels, and establishing sea denial capabilities to keep the U.S. out. Maybe after a few days once the PLA establishes air superiority and has control of the local sea lanes, then you’d start to see the amphibious assault, which could be done at China’s pleasure and at their pace…THEN you’d start to see the numbers you’re talking about.

      • What you are talking about are the days before the actual invasion, doing the reduction of Taiwan’s air and naval assets prior to the invasion. The longer it takes the better for Taiwan and the US.
        Don’t really think China would want to take any longer than absolutely necessary. Remember the Allies had already reduced Germany’s air and naval power, but it had taken years. It would not take China that long, but it will take a while. Better to take their chances, loose some people, but succeed.
        But at this point they do not have sufficient amphibious lift. They would probably supplement what they have with fishing vessels and other shallow draft vessels, but it will slow them down and be more hazardous than specialized landing craft.

        • Christopher Chekosky

          I don’t necessarily agree. What throws me is the comparison to Allied operations in World War II. That’s apples and oranges. China has, and probably updates continually, the exact location of ROC military assets. They know where they are, how to hit them, and what to hit them with (which would be an overwhelming number of modern, fourth generation fighters that are qualitatively superior to ROC aircraft). The air campaign for Taiwan would be quick and decisive to obtain air superiority.

          As for amphibious capability, yes, many analysts have assumed the PLA’s ability is modest at best. This isn’t as true as it used to be and also doesn’t take into account other variables such as capturing Peng Hu, and specialized forces to secure airfields for heavy-lift aircraft into the mainland. I know you also mentioned another World War II example to suggest what the starting point resource wise would be needed for China to carry out an invasion. That is of course apples and oranges. What was needed 70+ years ago to win Normandy is not what it would take today. The events would be similar in category only. I think a more realistic approach to how a modern amphibious assault against Taiwan would fare would be to look at the Falklands campaign.

          • joe Broz

            The last article I saw said that China would have superior aircraft in about ten years. They said the Chinese stealth fighter might be able to equal the F-35 in 2014.

          • Jpete96

            I don’t think so, falkans were totally different from either states perspective. Remember, Argentinas air and naval forces were pathetic, and their troops poorly equipped, poorly motivated, poorly trained, and relatively few in number. Also, us forces stationed on Guam and naval forces in the region could make life suck for the invaders. And, oh yeah, Taiwan likes it’s independence, unlike the falkans.

      • joe Broz

        It won’t happen.

      • Jpete ag96

        Wait a second though, china can only create area denial for a limited time, and they would likely either want to move quikley or engage in a war of attrition. Give the us navy time, and they massacre an invasion fleet

    • Darko714

      Exactly, Chuck. And how, and where, does the PLA intend to concentrate those divisions and ships prior to the operation without someone noticing? What port facilities do they have in the region? While they are preparing, boarding, and en route, the invasion force will consist of a lot of vulnerable, high-value targets. Unless they have complete air and naval superiority, they will need plenty of life jackets.

  • NavySubNuke

    The should also be investing more in cheap land based missiles – anti ship and surface to surface types. For the anti-ship missiles – take a page out of Iran’s book and mount them on pickup trucks and other “normal” vehicles to save money then just back the truck up to the edge of the dock and fire a few into the Chinese fleet. It probably won’t be that effective but it will be cheap and will definitely be a distraction.
    Surface to surface missiles that target key parts of China’s infrastructure (power plants, electrical substations, water/sewage treatment facilities) would also help impose unacceptable costs to the invaders. If they want to stick to purely military targets than radars and other command and control assets such as satellite antennas make good targets as well.
    Above all – don’t fall for the trap of fighting “fair” (because you can’t possibly win) and don’t try to build WMDs (the political cost would be far too high)

    • disqus_89uuCprLIv

      Don’t forget lots and lots of sea mines and shoulder fired SAMs.

      • joe Broz

        Yep, and these “carrier killers’ are stealth machines, which China hasn’t much of, nor defenses against.

    • Christopher Chekosky

      Silly hypothetical.

      But if Taiwan were to do that, every square meter of the island would have to be filled with long-range ballistic missiles that could travel up to 1000km. And even then, the chances of seriously degrading China’s infrastructure would be questionable. And since export treaties government missile technology like that would generally preclude Taiwan from acquiring long-range, accurate missile systems like that, they’ll have to stick to what they have, which wouldn’t even pin-prick China’s capabilities in that regard.

      • NavySubNuke

        Your post is based off the assumption they need to win – if it comes down to a fight they can’t actually win. What they need to do is deploy a force that could inflict enough damage to not make the operation worth the cost. They don’t need to lay waste to Chinese infrastructure from one end of the country to the other – hitting just a few of the targets within a few hundred KM of the Island would be fine. In fact if they keep the range to <300 KM then they don't have to worry about the MTCR.
        Check out where China is constructing a bunch of nuclear power plants right now for one thing. There are also some nice juicy factories and port facilities just waiting to eat a missile if China actually does attack.
        Remember the goal is to deter China from attacking – they don't actually need to fire enough missiles to blot out the sun to do that.

        • Neutral Man

          As for the nuclear plants, attacking them will definitely turn the whole warfare to another level. I mean PLA’s nuclear counter strike.

          • joe Broz

            ….which would place them in the position of being the world’s enemy.

    • joe Broz

      Another problem is China’s urbanization. Half their population is concentrated in ten cities. Hit two or three of those aggressively and China would be backtracking. ‘Course it would aid their population problem somewhat.

  • Grits.N.Jowls

    We may have to destroy China to save it from itself.

  • muzzleloader

    Why are the nations that build SSk’s, Germany and Sweden afraid of selling them to Taiwan? Unless I am missing something, Germany and Sweden are not beholden to China. They are financially independent and half a globe away. If these nations would sell Taiwan their subs, China could piss and moan all day, but little else.

    • Christopher Chekosky

      Because Taiwan is not recognized as a foreign state by those country’s. That’s part of diplomatic agreements with the PRC under the “One China” policy. It’s not about fear. It’s about economics, politics, and knowing what time of day it is.

  • Christopher Chekosky

    Pretty decent article that I think sums up the strategic picture between China and Taiwan well enough. I personally think Taiwan boasting a month is a little grandiose; a more realistic assessment is maybe two weeks. While Taiwan has some nice equipment, and its getting its hands on some good technology, the bulk of its military is still 15 years behind the times. This used to be a pretty good match against the PLA, whereby estimates put the PLA losing almost 2/3rd’s of its hardware before defeating Taiwan…a good deterrent in and of itself. But that’s history now with the PLA’s considerable advancements and the ROC military is lagging behind the times, especially in submarines where it has an Achilles heel.

    • Darko714

      Actually, I’d be surprised if China could launch a successful amphibious invasion of Taiwan at all. Currently they don’t have enough landing craft, warships, supply ships, and air cover to pull it off. Nor do they have any experience with amphibious operations. Taiwan’s talking “one month” is a thinly disguised pitch for continued US military aid and protection, and China’s sword rattling is nothing more than bluff. If the two countries ever re-unite, it will be by consent, and only once China has reformed itself into a country that Taiwanese would want to join.

    • Darko714

      Actually, I’d be surprised if China could launch a successful amphibious invasion of Taiwan at all. Currently they don’t have enough landing craft, warships, supply ships, and air cover to pull it off. Nor do they have any experience with amphibious operations. Taiwan’s talking “one month” is a thinly disguised pitch for continued US military aid and protection, and China’s sword rattling is nothing more than bluff. If the two countries ever re-unite, it will be by consent, and only once China has reformed itself into a country that Taiwanese would want to join.

  • Caasi Seyer

    PRC don’t have to do much to defeat Taiwan. I read they have hundreds of missiles pointing towards Taiwan. Unleashing such a barrage would mostly cripple the island capacity to react immediately, and the overwhelming air and naval forces that would follow, can do the rest. There’s no way Taiwan will win a war with the mainland and they pretty much have acknowledged that fact. Also, and unlike in the past, the Taiwanese know perfectly well the USA will not save them this time. Long live Taiwan

  • joe Broz

    Taiwan is isolated? Isn’t the U.S. an ally of Taiwan? I like their fancy schmancy carrier killer, especially since China (PDRC) only has one carrier, a Soviet diesel-powered reject. Yeah, I know, they’re building another one, but China has always been isolationist. They need to spread because of their 1.2 billion population, and what Discovery Channel says has only 4% of arable land left in the country. So, communist China will become imperialist, something they have never done. I mean, they took Tibet, but to what gain? They have some mountains. I don’t see them attacking Taiwan…to what purpose? Like South Korea vs. North Korea, Taiwan is a successful democracy, with over half their people college educated and speaking the universal language, English. The only time China has been invaded in modern history was by the Japs, so they don’t really have much offensive experience. In the Korean conflict, they threw hundreds of thousands of bodies at the Allies, but we all know how that ended. I suppose they could throw hundreds of thousands of bodies at Taiwan, but sophisticated weaponry will beat masses of humans every time.

  • Poor wording by Mizokami

    “Seceding from the mainland” — Poor wording. How does one secede from a country in which it is not a part of? The Republic of China is not, and has never been, a part of Communist China.

  • 128PC

    Politically commenting a liberal US President Might Offer Token Intervention then abandon The ROC to the inevitable defeat and subjugation.
    PLA would accept catastrophic casualties once they invade.
    If those hypersonic carrier missiles are in large number
    The US Navy Would Be Neutralized.

  • JohnC

    The USA is not an ally of the Republic of China. In the event of an attack by the People’s Republic of China, the USA would do nothing. Just as it did nothing to protect Ukraine, despite having guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity under the Budapest Memorandum. The ROC is on its own.

  • JohnC

    “Mainland China sees the island 110 miles away as a rogue province”. True, but the ROC sees Mainland China as a rogue province.

  • AAA

    So all of them can hold taiwan for 4 hours maybe ??

  • mama san

    China is too weak, not just militarily, but ideologically. Deng screwed everything up

  • dwight epps

    I was in Taiwan in fall 63 on 90 training with 4th marines, I would hope trump will help arm them like we have isreal they have or f35 fighter planes since china is building up in south china sea we arm Taiwan what are they going to do attack us not likely

  • John Dawson

    Unless the United States of America intervene Taiwan is burnt toast.
    During the Clinton administration China held launched missiles in a mock invasion near the Taiwanese coast.
    Clinton sent 4 Nuclear Subs and China withdrew.

  • TruthandConsequence

    PRC options to attack the ROC are also going to be limited to just what the PRC is willing to commit to the task. The Mainland with its land borders, coastline and distant islands is a large area for the PLA to defend, particularly in a country where the military is responsible for protecting the Chinese Communist Party from domestic tensions. On the other hand, the ROC has a much smaller area to defend, but a wide area for target selection. At the end of the day, if the ROC can inflict losses which would make any PRC adventurism not worth the risks of setback, it stands as a good defense. Of course, any PRC move against the ROC would be immensely unpopular with all of China’s neighbors and with the U.S., in particular. These constitute a huge deterrent against the PRC and, by inference, a protection for the ROC.

  • Tostik

    “….by the U.S. military’s own estimates, America would need “10,000 to 20,000 pounds of ordnance to decimate a PLA invasion force on the beaches of Taiwan.” This could be done, Beckley notes, using a single B-2 bomber or an Ohio-class submarine.”.. “The Emerging Military Balance in East Asia” by Michael Beckley

    No US aircraft carrier necessary to repel such an invasion.

    The Chinese only have 60 amphibious ships that can carry 26,000 men at a time, and it’s a 4 hr boat ride from the Mainland to Taiwan. Like all amphibious operations, it would be very dangerous, and China doesn’t really have the capability to do it.

  • EmergerQ

    PRC simply does not have the capability. Their military might be big but its pathetically weak on so many counts. Taiwan would not integrate with them hence in the highly unlikely event they were successful with an invasion it would turn into a ever lasting nightmare. Essentially China would get royally fucked and suffer enormous humiliation if they tried. We all know China is very insecure and being humillated is not an option.

  • Jon Jones

    Nuclear arms will deter Chinese Comnunist pigs

  • Jon Jones

    China needs to understand that if they invade Taiwan the US will obliterate Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua

    Japan and Australia will obliterate Beijing and Shanghai
    Chinese pigs!!