Jerry Gordon interviewed me on the question of whether China will invade Taiwan.
Is China likely to invade Taiwan? Is the United States prepared? Will China win? These and many related issues are assessed.
When a transcript is available I will add it to this posting.
Here is a summary prepared by Jerry Gordon:
Here is a summary of Stephen Bryen ‘s recommendations.
China expert and Center for Security Policy Senior Fellow Stephen Bryen has released an emergency analysis of the urgent China-Taiwan security crisis.
“Any attack by China, limited or not, directly impacts regional stability and could result in a decoupling of the United States from East Asia, or worse,” Bryen writes. He also contends that neither the U.S., Taiwan nor Japan is prepared to respond other than by improvisation.
To address these growing threats to Taiwan from China, Bryen makes these urgent policy recommendations for the Biden administration:
The U.S. Department of Defense Must establish a Joint Military Command for the Defense of Japan and Taiwan with a mandate to organize a fully coordinated capability to respond to Chinese invasion threats.
Improvements in air defenses, aircraft and standoff weapons to assure the survivability of Taiwan’s air bases and U.S. and Japanese airbases and to retain a strong capability to stop any Chinese aggression.
Note this from the Reuters report:
Chinese military aircraft simulated missile attacks on a nearby US aircraft carrier during an incursion into Taiwan’s air defense zone three days after Joe Biden’s inauguration, according to intelligence from the US and its allies.
The People’s Liberation Army sent 11 aircraft into the south-western corner of Taiwan’s air defense zone on January 23, and 15 aircraft into the same area the next day, according to Taiwan’s defense ministry.
People familiar with intelligence collected by the US and its allies said the bombers and some of the fighter aircraft involved were conducting an exercise that used a group of US Navy vessels led by the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the same area as a simulated target.
Pilots of H-6 bombers could be heard in cockpit conversations confirming orders for the simulated targeting and release of anti-ship missiles against the carrier, the people said.
The revelations highlight that the intense military competition between the two superpowers around Taiwan and the South China Sea has not eased, posing a challenge to any attempts the Biden administration might make to improve US relations with Beijing.
China’s development of missiles capable of targeting US ships and aircraft in the region has helped counter America’s military dominance in Asia and the western Pacific. Although Chinese experts have said that Beijing remains unwilling to risk open conflict with the US, the PLA’s new muscle is forcing the US to adjust its posture and strategy in Asia.
The area where Taipei reported the incursions last weekend is located between Pratas, a Taiwan-held atoll in the northern part of the South China Sea, and Taiwan proper, where the Taiwan Strait meets the Bashi Channel, a main passageway between the western Pacific and the South China Sea.
“The Su-30 [fighters] can carry Kh-31 anti-ship missiles, and the H-6 bombers and J-16 fighters can both carry YJ anti-ship missiles,” said Su Tzu-yun, an analyst at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, a think-tank backed by Taiwan’s defense ministry. “All three aircraft are clearly a display of threat against surface ships.”
The US Indo-Pacific Command said on January 23 that the US carrier strike group had sailed into the South China Sea that day. According to ship-tracking data, it passed through the Bashi Channel.
The Chinese aerial manoeuvres sparked a strong response from the new US administration, which warned Beijing to stop intimidating Taiwan.
“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan,” the US state department said, before adding that China should remember that Washington’s relationship with Taipei was “rock solid”.
Mr Biden sent another message to China reaffirming the US commitment to help Japan defend the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing, which calls them the Diaoyu.
China experts in Washington expect that Mr. Biden will adopt a less chaotic approach than former president Donald Trump in setting policy.
In an early sign that relations between Washington and Beijing would remain tense over Taiwan and a range of other issues, Antony Blinken, the new US secretary of state, this week said he agreed with the Trump administration, which had said the Chinese government’s repression of Uighur Muslims in detention camps in Xinjiang province was “genocide”.
In his confirmation hearing last week, Mr. Blinken said that while he disagreed with how Mr. Trump had implemented his policies towards China, he was “right in taking a tougher approach”.
According to an announcement by China’s Maritime Safety Administration, the PLA is conducting another exercise in the South China Sea, which is due to wrap up on Saturday.
Taiwan’s defense ministry has reported larger than average Chinese air incursions into its air defense zone since that latest exercise started on Wednesday.