China poised to attack Taiwan?

Vodkapundit says he may change his earlier opinion that China won’t attack Taiwan. This is the article that’s making him nervous:

The tone of Beijing’s rhetoric has changed, notes Richard Baum, a leading China specialist at the University of California in Los Angeles. The decibel-level of harsh anti-Chen polemic has subsided, replaced by a mood of “grim determination”, Baum said in a Yale Review article. “Before a tiger attacks, it remains calm and quiet,” one Chinese scholar told Baum.

Numerous US analysts believe that China’s military is close to reaching the capability it sees as necessary for an attack om special forces in Taiwan before the US Navy could execute its 30-day “surge” of massive reinforcements to the region – a Chinese version of US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s “shock and awe”.

The decisive moment could come even as early as Taiwan’s elections for its legislature this December, when Chen’s Democratic Progressive Party is expected to sweep out many of the conservative Kuomintang (KMT, Chinese Nationalist) oppositionists who have so far protected the existing constitution that sees Taiwan as part of China.

In another story, the occasionally reliable Washington Times reports China has developed a new type of submarine that’s diesel-powered and ideal for attacking Taiwan.

The new boat, which appears to be a combination of indigenous Chinese hardware and Russian weapons, suggests that China is building up its submarine forces in preparation for a conflict over Taiwan, defense analysts say.

The Washington Times is owned by Commie-hating Reverend Moon, and this entire article is a thinly veiled plea to the US to sell diesel-powered subs to Taiwan. It quotes Richard Fisher throughout, a Heritage Foundation/Jamestown Foundation expert on weapons who is always warning about the military threat posed by China. He may be right this time, and it’s an interesting read, if not a little scary.

The Discussion: 16 Comments

Military hardliner opposing the reformers? Check.
New submarine technology? Check.
Requests to re-evaluate 6.4? Check.
Heightened tensions over Taiwan? Check.
Religious-political movement? Check.

All that is missing is a large-scale disaster, and we’d be set up for the plot of this incredible novel.

July 16, 2004 @ 6:38 pm | Comment

Good find! War could be right around the corner. But some who are smarter “know” that China would never invade Taiwan, so take it easy.

July 16, 2004 @ 6:52 pm | Comment

To Attack or Not To Attack, Is That The Question?

There seems to be a raging discussion in the small China-related ex-pat blogosphere over whether China will invade Taiwan.

July 16, 2004 @ 9:50 pm | Comment

When Jiang Zemin starts accusing Taiwan of harbouring terrorists, violating human rights and developing weapons of mass destruction *then* we should worry ๐Ÿ™‚

(As an interesting aside, look at all the arguments proferred for invading Iraq. Nearly all of them also apply to invading China. Is that spooky or what?)

July 17, 2004 @ 1:48 am | Comment

Looks like the Pentagon is taking this “seriously” by launching Operation Dragon’s Thunder (thunder?);jsessionid=ZIBE4HU20OVGECRBAE0CFEY?type=domesticNews&storyID=5685376

July 17, 2004 @ 10:19 am | Comment

I’m not sure what the US policy should be vis-a-vis China and Taiwan.

I do know that Taiwan is the sort of country the US should want as a friend and ally.

Personally I think the US should quietly let the Taipei government know it is prepared to immediately recognize Taiwanese independance whenever they wish to do so.

In addition we should let both Bejing and Taipei know we will view any attack on Taiwan or Taiwanese interests the same as we would view an attack on US territory.

Also I would offer to sell the Taiwanese any US military hardware they want short of nuclear weapons. As for the sub question if they don’t want Seawolf or Virginia class attack subs perhaps they would be interested in surplus Los Angeles attack subs.

Of course the problem with the US taking a very hawkish stance on the Taiwan question is the damage to Chinese-Taiwanese and Chinese-US commerical interests and what sort of reaction it might provoke from the Bejing government. Provoking a new cold war with the PRC is probably not in anyones interest.

July 18, 2004 @ 3:27 pm | Comment


Of course China will never invade Taiwan. They’re too busy implementing political reforms.

July 18, 2004 @ 8:31 pm | Comment

Asia by blog

Doing the rounds for the Asian blogging round-up: Hong Kong, Taiwan and China Slowly minds are being turned on the idea that China might actually invade Taiwan. Richard notes that, as is often the case, the media sometimes has hidden agendas on this is…

July 19, 2004 @ 12:20 am | Comment

Asia by blog

Doing the rounds for the Asian blogging round-up: Hong Kong, Taiwan and China Slowly minds are being turned on the idea that China might actually invade Taiwan. Richard notes that, as is often the case, the media sometimes has hidden agendas on this is…

July 19, 2004 @ 12:42 am | Comment

I believe the greatest danger lies in Taipei continuing its call for a nationhood that is completely separate from and independent of China.

Beijing would be more than happy to leave things as they are, well, at least until she feels confident enough to either invade Taiwan successfully or let go of the latter as Taipei wishes. Of course her greatest wish is for Taiwan to return to the fold under the Hong Kong formula of ‘one country, two systems’. But a time may arrived when a self-confident China may decide to accept the reality of Taiwan as a completely separate nation, but this release must originate from Beijing.

It is that terrible Chinese thing called “face”, and that in the Taiwan case is monumental.

If China is put in a position where she may lose face, she would be forced to lash out recklessly, regardless of her true military capability. Then it will be a lose-lose-lose situation.

July 19, 2004 @ 8:49 am | Comment

Jacky, you’re very smart, and your understanding of the CCP mentality is sharp

July 19, 2004 @ 9:21 pm | Comment

Simon’s East Asia Overview: 2004-07-21

Simon World gives us a round-up of news, cultural notes, and other items of interest from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, Korea and Japan, and Southeast Asia. From a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan to the shifting political sands of Indonesia, you’ll…

July 21, 2004 @ 8:02 am | Comment

Who Would Win the War? – Analysis

There’s been so much talk about it recently, but there’s one question remaining: who would win? As a former naval reporter at Jane’s, publishers of renowned journals Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Fighting Ships, I think I’m qualified to come up with…

July 21, 2004 @ 9:43 pm | Comment

Most of the discussion on Taiwan in the mainstream media (especiallly Singapore) misses the point that Taiwan is already a sovereign an independent nation under any rational definition. The the issue is not whether Taiwan will declare independence or “provoke” China, but whether China will wage a war of aggression to increase its territory by taking over Taiwan.

If Taiwanese want to become part of China, no one can stop them.

So why does China have to prepare to invade? Why is China incapable of convincing a majority of the voters in Taiwan that becoming part of CHina is a good thing?


July 22, 2004 @ 12:06 am | Comment

Taiwan may like to think it is independent and sovereign – perhaps de facto it may be, but just look around the world, and see which international organization recognizes Taiwan. How many nations have embassies in Taipei?

China knows that Taiwan is in reality a separate nation, but she will not, and cannot openly acknowledge that – as mentioned she will be comfortable with the two China’s operating on a “One China” policy. While I can’t speak for China, I believe she’ll be happy to let this ride for the next 50 years or so, or even more. The issue of time is so irrelevant to a Chinese.

I am confident China has no intention to invade – what for, when so much is at stake. But push comes to shove, and that silly Chinese “face” needs saving, she’ll throw everything away and react nastily.

Unfortunately, Taipei has her own agenda. One of which is of course that she has been sidelined by virtually everyone in the official arena – she wants more than that.

As an observer, I predict at some stage in the future China will be pragmatic and prepared to “release” Taiwan to her own sovereignty. That will be when she is confident of her own worth in the international community.

July 22, 2004 @ 1:53 am | Comment

China’s corrupt communist regime has already created defectors in Hong Kong. Who can believe that China will have a hands off policy on territory that is officially recognized to be theirs?

It is hard to believe anything that the Chinese government says. I am sure all of you readers, except the ones from China, know that everything from television, newspapers, to the internet are filtered for anti communist content. And people who write against the government are imprisioned, and some even killed.

It is known from psychological profiles of the leaders in China, that they will seek to place all territories under their communist government.

They have already subverted Tibet, which was a soverign nation in its own right. Then they provide North Korea with aid, seeking to subvert the south as well.

It is foolish to think that they will let Taiwan go in the future. The only reason they have not attacked already is because they are biding their time.

Poised as the next superpower, they have been stealing US nuclear secrets such as the multi-warhead system, and pumping billions of dollars into their military and technological developments.

Once they have equalled or surpassed the US, they will be free to take over smaller countries in the east with impunity, such as Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, or Mongolia. Perhaps even Australia. The nations under the UN will seek appeasement, because the threat of nuclear annihilation from China will be too great by then.

The only forseeable solution to this is to limit China’s power as soon as possible, before they have the time to become a credible threat. How this will be done, I do not know. A ballastic missile defense is one way. Needless to say, this is why China is so vehemently opposed to reasearch on those defense systems. Russia is afraid that it will lose leverage against China, should they steal that technology from the US as well. With nuclear weapons ineffective, the enormous Chinese military would easily overcome any inland skirmishes.

We are coming into a time in which history is repeating itself. China, as a developing power, will seek more territory and resources, which it can do with relative impunity once their superopwer status is achieved.

August 16, 2004 @ 2:41 pm | Comment

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