Date: June 28, 2015
By: Wendell Minnick
TAIPEI — Missing from discussions at last week’s US-China Strategic and Economic
Dialogue (S&ED) was Taiwan’s significance in China’s land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea, said defense analysts.
Held annually since 2009, the S&ED is a high-level government meeting set alternatively in each other’s capital.
The Taiwan invasion scenario drives all Chinese military planning, force modernization, exercises and training, and this includes the recent land reclamation projects in the South China Sea, said Ian Easton, a China defense specialist at the Project 2049 Institute in Washington.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) views the militarization of these islands as creating an outer defensive perimeter to extend its precision strike battle networks, Easton said. In the event of a Taiwan crisis, there is a “high probability that the US would steam at least two aircraft carrier groups to the Philippine Sea to bolster Taiwan’s defense.”
Since 9/11, the US has had at least one carrier group available for the mission in either the Arabian Gulf or the Indian Ocean, thus forcing the group to pass through the South China Sea to reach the area. [FULL STORY]