“China Planning Surprise Attack on Taiwan”

All that’s missing from this rather dramatic story is a source:

China is apparently planning an โ€œout-of-the-blueโ€ (OOTB) attack on Taiwan, that will initially consist mainly of missiles, warplanes, paratroopers and troops out on “training exercises”. What this means is that, during what appears to be peacetime maneuvers, the troops involved will suddenly move against a nearby nation and invade. This tactic was developed by Russia during the Cold War, but never used. They prepared for it by holding large scale training exercises twice a year, near the border with West Germany. The Russian troops were all ready to practice, or go to war. An OOTB attack could be ordered by having the troops to cross the border and attack NATO forces, who would have insufficient warning to deal with the sudden offensive. NATO finally caught on to this plan, and put the troops on alert during the Russian field exercises. The OOTB was most noticeably used, and successfully at that, when the Russian trained Egyptian army surprised the Israelis and recaptured the Suez canal in 1973.

If everyone is on to OOTB attacks, how does China expect to get away with it? Especially when it would involve an amphibious operation involving at least ten hours time at sea for the ships of the amphibious force. The exact details are kept secret, but the plan involves using over 600 ballistic missiles, and several hundred warplanes, which China has stationed within range of Taiwan. Within an hour, the missiles could hit Taiwanese anti-aircraft missile launchers, radars, airbases, ships in harbor and army barracks and combat vehicles. Launch the attack in the pre-dawn hours, and you catch most of the troops in their barracks, and the ships, warplanes and tanks lined up and vulnerable. Amphibious troops would already be on their ships, for an amphibious exercises, escorted by numerous warships. As the amphibious fleet headed for Taiwan, hundreds of Chinese warplanes would return to hit whatever targets had been missed.

Taiwanese commanders have responded with plans to keep warships at sea and some aircraft in the air at all times during Chinese exercises. Even 900 ballistic missiles, which the Chinese will have in place during the next few years, would not be sufficient to shut down the Taiwanese armed forces. But if the missiles, and air strikes soon thereafter, could do enough damage to prevent the first wave of amphibious ships from getting hit bad, Taiwan would be in big trouble. In fact, if the Chinese could get control of the air over Taiwan for a day or so, three Chinese airborne divisions could be dropped on Taiwan as well.

Taiwan has always expected assistance from the U.S. Navy and Air Force. But without advance warning to get a carrier or two into the area, and a few hundred U.S. Air Force planes alerted for movement to Taiwan, Japan and Guam, the American assistance would be too late. Thus, for Taiwan, an OOTB attack, which the Chinese appear to be preparing to carry out, is something to worry about.

This is about as sensationalistic as you can get. Amazingly, it got picked up by the King of Kings, so it’s going to be widely read and linked to. Why didn’t The Good Professor raise the incredibly obvious question: Where the hell is this story coming from???

The Discussion: 21 Comments

Source, Taiwan
anything with a head knows

April 4, 2005 @ 5:25 pm | Comment


You’re probably right. But InstaPuppy wouldn’t link to something if it weren’t true — would he??

April 4, 2005 @ 5:35 pm | Comment

Daily linklets 5th April

This is a daily collection of links, some with commentary, to news stories and interesting blog posts. It will be updated throughout the day with a new timestamp for the updates. Scroll down for today’s other posts. Strategypage alleges China is prepar…

April 4, 2005 @ 7:50 pm | Comment

In what way is anything in this report surprising or extraordinary? From a military perspective it makes eminent good sense. Of course the PRC is planning for a surprise attack if it can get it – how else would it win? Of course the PRC wants to present the US and the rest of the world with a fait accompli if it chooses to use force to achieve reunification so it doesn’t have to fight the US on the way in. There is nothing “sensationalistic” about the report. Anyone who follows the PLA closely knows this is exactly what they are working towards being able to put on the menu for political leaders.

April 4, 2005 @ 8:12 pm | Comment

Could be — but where’s the proof? You can’t just state there’s going to be an imminent attack because common sense tells you so. Well, you can, but it’s mighty strange.

April 4, 2005 @ 8:26 pm | Comment

why is this piece anything like news?

i have seen any number of these sci-fi fantasy scripts published in the second-rate local chinese magazines, some with detailed specifics (such as the names of the airbases in taiwan, the designation of the airforce squadrons, etc). this is just tom clancy stuff. and a much better job can be done that this article.

not that it is necessarily false, because any military force will hundreds of tactical plans in their file drawers.

April 4, 2005 @ 8:27 pm | Comment

As I said, and as Simon at SimonWorld has said, it’s “news” because one of the world’s most powerful “transmitters” (InstaPuppy) wrote about it today. Thus, it’s a big stotry as hundrerds of thousands of readers look at it as Truth,

April 4, 2005 @ 9:17 pm | Comment

Question: if it’s been reported, it’s no longer ‘out of the blue’, is it?

April 4, 2005 @ 9:44 pm | Comment

This reminds of a segment on the PBS program The News Hour with Jim Lehrer (IMO it’s by far the most balanced evening news program on American TV) right after the EP-3 spy plane collision incident. They had a retired US general on the program who was saying that the near-daily EP-3 flights to the coasts of China were deliberately provocative, that these flights were basically intended to appear as simulated attacks on Chinese radars so that they can record and study how the Chinese military respond to such threats. Now with all this talk about OOTB attacks, wouldn’t these flights be perfect as part of an OOTB strategy? But of course I’d have to be paranoid to believe that….

April 4, 2005 @ 10:52 pm | Comment

Is there a difference between OOTB attack and preemptive strike??? Does OOTB attack mean attack without reasons???

April 5, 2005 @ 12:06 am | Comment

An attack without warning, there are plenty of reasons. The gist of it is to take Taiwan rapidly and make PRC control a fait accomplai based on the assumption that no one has the balls to attempt to dislodge the PLA from the island.

April 5, 2005 @ 2:01 am | Comment

OK, perspective time

OOTB attacks along these lines are so obvious that they have become cliche.

Every government in the world with a likely enemy already has some kind of contingency plan against the most likely forms of supprise attack.

NATO and co and the Soviet Union frequently held simultanious excercises, partly as an excuse to spy on the other, partly as a way of showing off, and partly to deter this kind of attack.

Chinese Taiwan most certainly has a dispersal or convergance plan to put into play if a Chinese military manuver started steaming towards it, it would be stupid if it didn’t, and China most certaily has thought of a way to get an amphibias force close to the island under another auspicies, again it would be daft not to.

Yes both sides probalby have a plan along these lines, but no the writter doesn’t know anything about them, they are just pulling in elements that sound about right.

They are running with a vague idea that you could find in any paperback fiction section or indeed in half a dozen computer games.

If the writter had an actual source, or any actual knowledge then they would have mentioned launch sites, distinct targets etc rather than give such a generic answer. You could could pull together a more convincing story using an atlas and a couple of google searches about Sino-Taiwanese military capabilities and te first strike tactics used during operation desert storm.

This wasn’t written by a profesional journalist, it wasn’t written with actual military knowledge, and it certainly shouldn’t be considered a real news story.

I’ve seen enough historic attack and defense reports to know what one looks like, and to know that this goon hasn’t even turned over to the Discovery channel to see one before writting this, let alone asked somebody who knowns.

April 5, 2005 @ 3:27 am | Comment

when has glen reynolds been right about anything? if you’re quoting instapundit for china news, you amy as well link to JC Christian’s report of Chinese soldiers sneaking a dirty bomb into the US from mexico: http://patriotboy.blogspot.com/2005_04_03_patriotboy_archive.html#111259719852934684

the chicoms are coming! the chicoms are coming!

April 5, 2005 @ 9:20 am | Comment

I never said the Nutty Professor was right about China. All I said was that he had a massive audience, so this would be seen by gazillions of his instapuppets who would see it as truth.

April 5, 2005 @ 9:29 am | Comment

A few days ago a San Francisco-based Chinese language newspaper had a photo showing family event of former owner of San Francisco Examiner, in which daughter of a top guy of China shows up as a member.

Huang Fan, a Shanghai native and daughter of Huang Ju, politburo memebr and vice premier, married a Chinese-American businessman in 1995 and has since lived in the US.

Let’s believe in Shanghaiese supremacy for our own sake – they bet more on the US side than CCP ruling gang.

April 5, 2005 @ 2:45 pm | Comment

This is a (USA) National War College war game scenario going back years to well before the current Bush administration. Casper Weinberger even penned party of it in a book a couple of years back.

In 1962 the Kennedy administration met secretly with “Red” China in Warsaw to ensure them that all the talk about Chiang Kai-Shek’s imminent invasion of the mainland was only so much hot air. Doesn’t anybody see the pattern here?

April 5, 2005 @ 3:41 pm | Comment

The original source of the article is strategypage.com, a US based website that caters to a military-interested readership.

April 5, 2005 @ 3:56 pm | Comment

The author is James Dunnigan. A search at amazon.com will turn up many military related books authored by Dunnigan over the course of at least two decades.

April 5, 2005 @ 8:12 pm | Comment

Leave it to Bellevue to bring in some completly unrelated anti CCP ‘fact’.

I think that Bellevue was bitten by a communist as a child and has since taken to randomly showing up on my blog with rabbid anti CCP links that are too sensationalist for even me to cover.

April 6, 2005 @ 2:03 am | Comment


Childhood theory, again?

Look, if you read carefully, it’s not COMPLETELY unrelated story. You think a OOTB attack could be launched while their next generation has given up new guard career?

April 6, 2005 @ 2:33 am | Comment

Well, I agree with the people above who said that it would be surprising if China did not have some sort of plan like this in their dossier of Taiwan options. Now, whether they’re actually planning to put that plan into effect is another story … I’d say that there are some people who really want to do it … but at the moment (I hope!) cooler heads are in control.

April 6, 2005 @ 7:38 am | Comment

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