The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) held military drills featuring warplanes near Taiwan on Friday as part of “military struggle preparations against the island,” Chinese state media reported on Friday. Global Times, a Communist Party propaganda newspaper, said multiple PLA warplanes – including H-6 bombers, KJ-500 early warning aircraft, and J-11 fighter jets – conducted a far-sea, long-range drill above southwestern waters near the island of Taiwan. The PLA warplanes were seen flying over waters southwest of Taiwan and then entering the skies over the Bashi Channel – located between Taiwan and the Philippines – before returning to base via the same route, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed on Friday. Taiwan’s armed forces are closely monitoring the country’s surrounding waters and airspace, Taiwanese military spokesman Shih Shun-wen said. Friday’s drill marks the sixth time this year that PLA aircraft have been recorded operating near Taiwan’s airspace, according to Taiwan’s MND. On April 2, China’s PLA reported that the Chinese military command responsible for patrols around Taiwan staged a long-endurance, early-warning exercise in March. The drill was intended to simulate quickly countering enemy planes during wartime, a PLA officer said at the time. In early February, China organized army-navy war games near Taiwan and surrounded the country with warplanes. Following days of drills, China’s PLA Eastern Theatre Command said its forces had carried out “air-ground assault and fire support drills to further refine and test their multi-service joint combat capabilities.” In response, the United States recently sent military aircraft to operate near Taiwanese airspace to show support for Taiwan. The U.S. claims to be allied with Taiwan, but does not formally recognize that it is a sovereign state. On March 25, the U.S. sent EP-3E Aries electronic warfare and reconnaissance aircraft to fly near Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan, and Hong Kong. On Friday, Taiwan’s MND said it had also spotted a U.S. military reconnaissance aircraft flying near its airspace, with some suggesting that the U.S. may have been monitoring the unusual activity by the PLA warplanes in the area that same day. China’s recent drills near Taiwan come after the U.S. signed the Taiwan Allies and International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act into law on March 4, which enhances U.S. support for Taiwan. According to TAIPEI, the U.S. will reduce its economic, security, and diplomatic engagements with nations that take significant actions to undermine Taiwan, especially China.
President Donald Trump on Thursday signed the Taiwan Allies and International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act, whose acronym in a remarkable coincidence spells out TAIPEI, the name of Taiwan’s capital. The TAIPEI Act enhances U.S. support for Taiwan by encouraging other nations to engage with the island and punishing those who follow the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) orders to isolate it. “This bipartisan legislation demands a whole-of-government approach to ramp up our support for Taiwan, and will send a strong message to nations that there will be consequences for supporting Chinese actions that undermine Taiwan,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who introduced the bill along with Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware in May. The bill enjoyed strong bipartisan support after some revisions and passed the House on a 415-0 vote. The Senate passed the final version of the TAIPEI Act with unanimous consent on March 11. A joint statement from Gardner and Coons highlighted the importance of the Act during the current crisis, stressing America’s determination to “support Taiwan’s participation in appropriate international organizations like the World Health Organization, which would help Taiwan respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and be able to share globally its expertise and knowledge in handling this crisis.” Taiwan was forced into observer status at the World Health Organization (WHO) by Communist China in 2009 and was blocked altogether after the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016. During the coronavirus crisis, WHO uncritically relayed false information provided by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and inexcusably delayed declaring a global health emergency, while Taiwan devised the world’s most effective coronavirus response – in some ways benefiting from its separation from a World Health Organization compromised by CCP politics. Taiwan still correctly objects to its exclusion as outrageous, and at this point the rest of the world is probably suffering more than Taiwan from keeping Beijing in and Taipei out. In February, Taiwan was able to get some of its experts into an online WHO meeting about the coronavirus by working directly with WHO leaders and freezing Beijing out of the discussion. The Chinese Communist government later claimed it had approved Taiwan’s request. As the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry pointed out in February, even after unleashing a historic global pandemic, the CCP still has enough sway over WHO to make it change its reports so they describe Taiwan as part of Communist China. Supporters of the TAIPEI Act also said it would be an important step toward reversing China’s economic and political campaign to isolate Taiwan by bribing and intimidating its allies into abandoning the island and switching their formal diplomatic recognition to Beijing. Eight of Taiwan’s allies have done so since President Tsai’s election, leaving it with 15. “The TAIPEI Act sends a clear message that the United States stands with Taiwan’s free-market democracy. I look forward to finding additional ways to support the positive role Taiwan plays in international affairs,” Sen. Coons said on Thursday. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), Taiwan’s de facto embassy in the United States, on Thursday offered “big thanks to President Donald Trump and Congress’ staunch support for Taiwan.” President Tsai said it was “gratifying” to see the TAIPEI Act signed into law, hailing it as a “testament to Taiwan-U.S. friendship and mutual support as we work together to address global threats to human health and our shared economic values.” “The bill reflects the strength of Taiwan-U.S. ties. It also paves the way for expanded bilateral exchanges while preserving the country’s international space in the face of authoritarian China’s campaign of coercion,” said the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Chinese Communist Party is, unsurprisingly, less pleased with the TAIPEI Act. The Chinese Foreign Ministry actually threatened a “resolute strike back” if the law was implemented. “We urge the United States to correct its mistakes, not implement the law, or obstruct the development of relations between other countries and China, otherwise it will inevitably encounter a resolute strike back by China,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman warned. China stepped up its campaign of military intimidation against Taiwan after the coronavirus pandemic began, conducting provocative naval and air drills. Taiwanese citizens are increasingly angry about these provocations, which have included brief violations of Taiwan’s airspace by Chinese military jets.
This is extremely important, and sends a message to China that we stand with Taiwan. Kudos to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and the others who pushed this bill and got it to President Trump’s desk for signature. 🙂
Chinese President Xi Jinping stated outright on Wednesday that Beijing’s goal is to absorb Taiwan and that China could use “force” to achieve the goal if necessary. Mr. Xi’s comments, which are likely to elevate tension over the prospect of Taiwan’s independence from Communist mainland China, came a day after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen vowed the democracy-oriented island will forever resist the sort of reunification being pushed by Beijing. “Taiwan will never accept ‘one country, two systems,’ Ms. Tsai said in a speech Tuesday, referencing China’s long-held claim that it’s open to allowing Taiwan to have its own semi-autonomous government as long as the island’s sovereignty is fully folded under Chinese rule. Mr. Xi dismissed Ms. Tsai’s remarks Wednesday, delivering his own major speech marking the 40 year anniversary of Beijing’s efforts to improve ties with Taiwan, in which the Chinese president urged the Taiwanese to submit to the reality that they “must and will be” reunited with China. “We make no promise to abandon the use of force, and retain the option of taking all necessary measures,” Mr. Xi said in a speech to Chinese military officials and others gathered in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. According to a New York Times report from the Chinese capital, the section of Mr. Xi’s speech referencing “force” drew rousing applause from the crowd, with the president specifically asserting that it could be used against “intervention by external forces.” It was Mr. Xi’s first major speech on Taiwan during his seven-year tenure as Chinese president, and he suggested Beijing’s absorption of the island is becoming a growing priority of his ongoing push to strengthen China’s position on the global stage. While Mr. Xi did not explicitly reference the United States or U.S. military support for Taiwan, his comments on force may have been a reference to the prospect of a military clash with America over Taiwan, which China views as a breakaway province. China and Taiwan have been governed separately since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s when Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists lost to Mao Zedong’s Communists. The Nationalists subsequently fled the mainland and established their own government on the island of Taiwan. While Washington technically does not recognize Taiwanese sovereignty from China, it has a special relationship with the island democracy’s 23 million people and laws in place that require the United States to protect Taiwan from Chinese aggression. The issue of Taiwan-China relations is heated and complex one on the Taiwanese internal political landscape, with the latest back and forth between Mr. Xi and Ms. Tsai coming amid concern on the island over the prospect of a Chinese intervention of some kind. In her own speech Tuesday, Ms. Tsai said Taiwanese people treasure their autonomy from China. She then warned city and county officials on the island to exercise caution in any dialogue with officials from the mainland. Ms. Tsai spoke specifically of major gains that a Beijing-friendly opposition party made in Taiwan’s local elections in November. “The election results absolutely don’t mean Taiwan’s basic public opinion wants us to give up our self-rule,” she said, according to The Associated Press. “They absolutely don’t mean that the Taiwanese people want us to give ground on our autonomy.” Taiwan’s Nationalist Party, which in recent years has favored closer ties with Beijing, won 15 of 22 major seats in the local elections, reversing an advantage held by Ms. Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party, which projects a far more guarded view of relations with Beijing.
This is probably just Xi puffing his chest out and throwing red meat to his supporters. But, definitely something to keep an eye on..
China has drawn up secret military plans to take over the island of Taiwan by 2020, an action that would likely lead to a larger U.S.-China conventional or nuclear war, according to newly-disclosed internal Chinese military documents. The secret war plan drawn up by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the Chinese Communist Party’s armed forces, calls for massive missile attacks on the island, along with a naval and air blockade that is followed by amphibious beach landing assaults using up to 400,000 troops. The plans and operations are outlined in a new book published this week, The Chinese Invasion Threat by Ian Easton, a China affairs analyst with the Project 2049 Institute, a think tank. The danger of a Taiwan conflict has grown in recent years even as current tensions between Washington and Beijing are mainly the result of U.S. opposition to Chinese militarization in the South China Sea and China’s covert support of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. “Of all the powder kegs out there, the potential for a war over Taiwan is by far the largest and most explosive,” the 290-page book states, adding that the growing likelihood of a war over Taiwan will dominate worries within the Pentagon for years to come. “China has made clear that its primary external objective is attaining the ability to apply overwhelming force against Taiwan during a conflict, and if necessary destroy American-led coalition forces,” the books says. Democratic-ruled Taiwan poses an existential threat to China’s communist leaders because the island, located some 90 miles off the southeast coast “serves as a beacon of freedom for ethnically Chinese people everywhere,” the book states. “Consequently, the PLA considers the invasion of Taiwan to be its most critical mission, and it is this envisioned future war that drives China’s military buildup.” Parts of the PLA invasion scheme were first revealed publicly by the Taiwan Defense Ministry in late 2013. The plan calls for military operations against the island to be carried out by 2020. The invasion program was confirmed by Chinese leader Xi Jinping during the major Communist Party meeting five years ago when Xi committed to “continue the 2020 Plan, whereby we build and deploy a complete operational capability to use force against Taiwan by that year.” Other internal PLA writings that surfaced recently indicate China is ready to use force when it believes non-military means are not successful in forcing the capitulation to Beijing’s demands, and if the United States can be kept out of the battle. Current U.S. law under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act requires the United States to provide defensive weaponry to Taiwan to prevent the use of force against the island. China currently is using non-lethal means—psychological, diplomatic, propaganda, and informational warfare—against Taiwan. Once these are exhausted, the plan for large-scale amphibious assault will be carried out. Any attempt by the Chinese military to take the island will be difficult and costly, the book says. The island has rough, mountainous terrain that has created a wind tunnel effect in the strait that produces very difficult weather for carrying troop and weapons transports, both air and sea. Taiwan is around 230 miles long and 90 miles wide. Taiwanese military forces have been preparing for an invasion since Chinese nationalist forces first took refuge on the island at the end of the civil war with the communists in 1949. However, since the 1980s, China has been rapidly building up its military capabilities for a battle to forcibly unify the island with the mainland. Over 1,000 ballistic and cruise missiles currently are stationed within range of Taiwan. According to the book, China’s invasion plan is known as the Joint Island Attack Campaign.
Definitely something to keep an eye on.. Bestselling author, and veteran defense writer Bill Gertz is responsible for that excellent piece. Bill is very well connected in the defense community, and is a very credible source of information. To read more, click on the text above.
Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a strident supporter of President-elect Donald Trump, spoke approvingly of Trump accepting a phone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen despite it violating a prior agreement with the Chinese government. Gingrich argued it made the statement that Trump was his “own person” and not intimidated by China. “If the leader of a free people call you, why wouldn’t you take the call? I think this whole State Department mythology that we have to somehow let the Chinese dictate to us is nonsense,” Gingrich said. “And I thought it was a good signal to the world that Donald Trump is going to be his own person and that if the Chinese want to deal with the United States, they’re going to have to actually deal with the United States. They’re not going to be able to intimidate us.”
Taiwan’s China-sceptic main opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen won a landslide victory to become the island’s first female president Saturday, eliciting a warning from Beijing against any move towards independence. Fireworks lit up the sky at the headquarters of Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as thousands gathered to celebrate the historic win over the ruling China-friendly Kuomintang (KMT). In her first comments to media, Tsai warned that Chinese “suppression” would damage ties with the mainland. “Our democratic system, national identity and international space must be respected. Any forms of suppression will harm the stability of cross-strait relations,” she said. Although Taiwan is self-ruling after it split with China following a civil war in 1949, it has never declared independence and Beijing still sees it as part of its territory awaiting reunification. Support for Tsai has surged as voters have become increasingly uneasy about a recent rapprochement with China under outgoing KMT president Ma Ying-jeou. Beijing responded sternly to Tsai’s election, with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office warning that the Chinese government would “resolutely oppose any form of secessionist activities seeking ‘Taiwan independence'”. In a strongly-worded editorial, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said the DPP’s return to power “poses grave challenges to cross-Strait relations” and had “aroused concerns” about Taipei’s relationship with Beijing. Tsai’s victory came on the same day that outrage erupted over the treatment of 16-year-old Taiwanese K-pop star Chou Tzu-yu, who was forced to record a video apology after angering Chinese netizens by flying a Taiwanese flag in a recent online broadcast. Tsai specifically referred to Chou in her address, saying her case had “shaken Taiwanese society”. “This particular incident will serve as a constant reminder to me about the importance of our country’s strength and unity to those outside our borders,” she said. Tsai has toned down the DPP’s traditionally pro-independence message to assuage Beijing and calm nerves in the United States — Taiwan’s major ally — which does not want to see tensions flare. In her address to media she pledged to “work towards maintaining peace and stability” in relations with China, but emphasised it must reflect public will. Jubilant supporters expressed their faith in Tsai as she later addressed the crowds, promising to be a strong leader. “I’m very confident — we were cheated by Ma’s government for so long,” said Jimmy Lai, 45. Washington congratulated Tsai on the victory.
This is huge story! The people of Taiwan have spoken, and they want independence…big time. So, Pres-elect Tsai is between a rock and a hard place. And, she could probably use a little support. Let’s see if Obama will offer that support, or tell her to be quiet and kiss up to the Beijing bullies. Since Obama likes to kiss up to dictators, thugs, and communists…my money is on the latter. Guess we’ll see… Anyway, to read the rest of it, click on the text above..
The presidents of China and Taiwan have set a historic first meeting for this weekend that offers a shot at posterity for the former bitter Cold War foes after more than six decades of division, while testing recent years of rapidly warming ties. The sides on Wednesday announced the talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou on neutral ground in Singapore, the Southeast Asian city-state whose government maintains friendly ties with both. Those would be the first direct discussions between the leaders of China and Taiwan since civil war divided their lands 66 years ago, a highly symbolic move that reflects their quickly improving relations. Saturday’s meeting could be the last chance for Xi to press China’s case for closer economic and political ties before Taiwan’s January elections for the presidency and legislature. Already the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, Xi would benefit from a successful outcome to the meeting by appearing to further what China calls the “great goal of national unification.” The meeting is riskier for Ma, whose ruling Nationalist Party is lagging in polls. The elections could serve as an unofficial referendum on Ma’s pro-China policies, and his party could be dragged down further by perceptions Ma is pandering to China’s ruling Communists to burnish his own legacy and benefit the island’s pro-China elite. A win for the opposition could see a significant curtailing of Ma’s pro-China initiatives, something Beijing would be loath to witness. “This will be tricky politically in Taiwan, as the opposition will obviously use this to charge Ma and the Nationalists with kowtowing to Beijing,” said Alan Romberg, East Asia program director with Washington think tank the Stimson Center. Yet Saturday’s meeting could also boost the Nationalists’ credentials for driving progress in relations with China and heading off past threats and hostility from Beijing that rattled many Taiwanese. It may also help that the meeting puts Ma, leader of 23 million people, on equal footing with the leader of the world’s most populous country and its second-largest economy. “Ma and presumably the rest of the Nationalists will cast this as demonstrating the benefits of adhering to the 1992 Consensus as a constructive basis for handling cross-strait relations — indeed as the indispensable basis,” Romberg said. The 1992 Consensus refers to an agreement that formed the basis of talks between the two sides, under which both consider Taiwan and the mainland to be one country with separate interpretations according to their own constitutions. The main pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party has refused to recognize the consensus, calling it meaningless and unrepresentative of popular sentiment on the island. Formal talks came after Ma, president since 2008, set aside old hostilities to allow lower-level official meetings. Taiwan and China, its top trading partner, have signed 23 deals covering mainly trade, transit and investment. Ma is likely hoping for even closer economic ties, as well as security assurances from Beijing, which despite warming relations still insists that the two sides must eventually reunite, by force if necessary.
Wow.. This is a sticky situation.. And, we have military alliances with Taiwan to thwart China’s desire to reunite by force. So, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.
I find this article to be a breathtakingly shortsighted, two dimensional, overly optimistic assessment of what might happen if mainland China decided it was tired of Taiwan’s nonsense, and wanted to bring it into the fold. Plus, this author ASSumes that China’s forces would travel by sea. Where does he, and those who agree with him (mostly Naval personnel, go figure) get off with such an ASSumption? Mainland China is less than 200 miles from Taiwan. Um… Hello? How about air? I can easily see a scenario where China just decides to fire missiles at key strategic targets to knock out command and control (“C2”) facilities, radar, and so on.. And, then drop in a few elite airborne and special forces troops in immediately afterwards to secure key targets like government bldgs., tv stations, and so on. This could all happen VERY quickly and, in a matter of hours, the relatively small island would be under China’s control without a single one of their ships leaving port…and without much, if any confrontation with, the U.S. military. Yes, the U.S. Navy DOES have the largest and most modern sub fleet on the planet. No denying that. And we should be grateful for, and proud of, our great Navy and those who serve in it. BUT, if China really wants to do this, they have other ways to achieve that strategic goal without having to worry much about the USA, and certainly without having to worry about our Navy. Plus, battles are primarily a battle of wills. And, right now, we have an inept, weak President who would be far too scared to intervene on behalf of Taiwan and engage China militarily. Just look at what hes doing in Iraq where our military supremacy is unquestioned. China is an entirely different adversary, who has a FAR bigger Army, and who is kicking the living crap out of us in space, currently.