The Natinal Interest
Date: January 25, 2020
By: Kent Wang
On September 1, 1939, the German army launched an invasion of Poland that triggered the start of World War II. The battle for Poland only lasted about a month before a Nazi victory. But the invasion plunged the world into a war that would continue for almost six years and claim the lives of tens of millions of people. Today, eighty years later, will China invade Taiwan?
Could China really invade Taiwan? No one can know with any certainty how such a war would start, how it would play out, and what would follow it. But it is clear that we need to realize that North Korea is not the only threat to peace in the Indo-Pacific, nor is it the worst. China is planning to invade a democracy at the center of the first island chain, something likely to spark World War III.
After the recent election for Taiwan’s leadership and the unrest in Hong Kong, the consensus in Beijing has greatly shifted. They believe that a military occupation is the only possible way to go. And they are preparing for it. To coerce Taiwan, there are a variety of different options, ranging from purely symbolic types of demonstrations of force to a much more coercive type of punishing campaign. The higher end coercive scenarios would basically depend on the ability of the Chinese military to seize air and sea control in the air and waters around Taiwan.
China is improving and increasing its options for a possible invasion of Taiwan, with sailing its new aircraft carrier Shandong through the Taiwan Strait and also launched an additional Type 055 destroyer and a Type 052D destroyer before the end of 2019, a move experts say is an ambitious achievement in building its naval muscle. Washington is increasingly concerned that China’s growing military might could embolden it to launch a full-out invasion on Taiwan, as Chinese President Xi Jinping is losing patience and could order the invasion of Taiwan in the early 2020s.