Taiwan Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


Mr T

Senior Member
I don't think any invasion would be predicated on a F-35 sale.
I didn't say it was. I meant, even if an F-35 sale was approved during Biden's presidency, there are plenty of customers ahead in the queue. How long would it take to deliver F-35s for Taiwan in meanginful numbers?

The 2049 deadline for Chinese "rejuvination" implies there's a cut-off point for an attack beforehand, in which case a bombed-out Taiwan full of angry and hostile locals is unlikely to generate good propaganda for Chinese TV. That would mean an invasion having to be successful at least a decade beforehand to properly pacify the area and break the will of the Taiwanese.

As an example I can imagine the KMT losing both the 2024 and 2028 elections being a trigger, as it would probably show that peaceful unification would be improbable before 2049.

I don't think that the idea is to fight a war over Taiwan, just to be able to win one. PRC was willing to wait 70 years for HK, they are willing to wait for TW. Without a term limit, Xi Jinping can afford to wait.
He's 67. At some point he's going to get too senile to be trusted. Do you think even the yes-men in the CCP are going to welcome an 87 year old Xi, who's barely able to stand and frequently forgets important information, talking about another 10 years in charge? I don't know, perhaps the CCP has been so purged of people with backbone that they'd just smile and nod whilst internally feeling sick, but certainly until Xi took over that wouldn't have been stood for.

I strongly doubt that Xi is going to wait until a time where he could physically be too frail to avoid being booted out. He knows the weaker someone is the more ruthless internal Party politics becomes.
The time limitation is really more on America's watch, not PRC's. In another 10 years...
I can remember Chinese nationalists saying the same thing in 2010, so I wouldn't make any assumptions about what the situation will be by 2030.

Actually some Taiwan commentators that everything is ready now for invasion. The Chinese leadership is just waiting for the Taiwan government to make a mistake. One recent example was the cancelled Kelly Craft visit to Taiwan last January 2021. That was a close call since the PLA is threatening to use of force if the visit was pushed.
Well a US ambassador did visit Taiwan recently by accompanying the President of Palau. I guess we can play a game of ranking US officials and saying that the US ambassador to the UN is above China's red line but this ambassador was not.

Would the US ambassador to Norway be above or below the red line? Or the US ambassador to Japan?

China frequently draws its red lines with invisible ink. It hints that doing X will lead to a "severe" reaction, but it reserves the right to not take significant action if its bluff is called. Like when it threatened to retaliate against the Czech Republic due to the planned visit of the Senate leadership to Taiwan, and instead some piano orders were cancelled. Big whoop.
 
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Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
I didn't say it was. I meant, even if an F-35 sale was approved during Biden's presidency, there are plenty of customers ahead in the queue. How long would it take to deliver F-35s for Taiwan in meanginful numbers?

The 2049 deadline for Chinese "rejuvination" implies there's a cut-off point for an attack beforehand, in which case a bombed-out Taiwan full of angry and hostile locals is unlikely to generate good propaganda for Chinese TV. That would mean an invasion having to be successful at least a decade beforehand to properly pacify the area and break the will of the Taiwanese.

As an example I can imagine the KMT losing both the 2024 and 2028 elections being a trigger, as it would probably show that peaceful unification would be improbable before 2049.


He's 67. At some point he's going to get too senile to be trusted. Do you think even the yes-men in the CCP are going to welcome an 87 year old Xi, who's barely able to stand and frequently forgets important information, talking about another 10 years in charge? I don't know, perhaps the CCP has been so purged of people with backbone that they'd just smile and nod whilst internally feeling sick, but certainly until Xi took over that wouldn't have been stood for.

I strongly doubt that Xi is going to wait until a time where he could physically be too frail to avoid being booted out. He knows the weaker someone is the more ruthless internal Party politics becomes.

I can remember Chinese nationalists saying the same thing in 2010, so I wouldn't make any assumptions about what the situation will be by 2030.

This prevailing assumption in believing that Xi wants to see Taiwan reunified while he is in a position of leadership in China, imo, is ridiculous.
None of China's current strategic procurements and nation building priorities point to a desire to actively wanting to militarily invade Taiwan in the short-medium term (5-10 years) -- otherwise we'd be seeing them pour money into things that would be militarily, mature, and operationally relevant for that time period rather than systems that will take over a decade or more to reach true maturity.

As for F-35s -- China will obviously oppose any sale of military arms to Taiwan as a matter of principle, but a sale of F-35s on the sort of budget that the ROC military has, in the time span in which they could even conceviably be delivered, would not be a significant change in the cross strait power balance.


Well a US ambassador did visit Taiwan recently by accompanying the President of Palau. I guess we can play a game of ranking US officials and saying that the US ambassador to the UN is above China's red line but this ambassador was not.

Would the US ambassador to Norway be above or below the red line? Or the US ambassador to Japan?

China frequently draws its red lines with invisible ink. It hints that doing X will lead to a "severe" reaction, but it reserves the right to not take significant action if its bluff is called. Like when it threatened to retaliate against the Czech Republic due to the planned visit of the Senate leadership to Taiwan, and instead some piano orders were cancelled. Big whoop.

That is the whole reason why this entire situation is becoming a more risky flashpoint, because China is reiterating its red lines, the US is trying to salami slice away to those red lines, and Taiwan is in the middle of it with unclear intentions as to how far it wants to take advantage of the geopolitical circumstances to nibble away more towards de jure independence.

You are being remarkably cavalier if you don't think the situation right now between the three parties does not have the potential for military conflict if two of those sides misread each other's intentions. And military conflict involving these three parties is one where the risk of nuclear escalation is not low.


=====

China's current strategy wrt Taiwan is quite simple.
1. Use every means to deter Taiwan and/or other countries from carrying out actions that would move it towards more in the direction of de jure independence (other similar matters including but not limited to Taiwan acquiring nuclear weapons, formal placement of foreign military forces on the island etc).)
2. Be willing to use military force and its associated escalation ladder, either against Taiwan and/or other outside parties that involve themselves in the matter, in the event deterrence fails and the red line of de jure independence is crossed (or the aforementioned other red lines).
3. Continue to accrue military, economic, geopolitical capability in general over time, to enhance above 1. and 2. in context of whatever the geopolitical conditions of the period are. This point is basically acknowledging that in terms of the hard power ability to deter Taiwan from moving to de jure independence, and the hard power ability to achieve a more favourable outcome in point 2., would both favour China more if something like this happened more into the future. I.e.: that China feels like time is on its side.


Putting it another way, and putting all of China's current priorities (both in terms of military procurement and domestic nation building efforts), I find these assertions that China is going to invade Taiwan in the near term (either from pro China people, or from pro Taiwan people, or from your standard mainstream media) to be silly.
There's a difference between having the capability to invade if it is required, versus having the capability they want to invade if they were actively planning for it.
 

Mr T

Senior Member
This prevailing assumption in believing that Xi wants to see Taiwan reunified while he is in a position of leadership in China, imo, is ridiculous.
None of China's current strategic procurements and nation building priorities point to a desire to actively wanting to militarily invade Taiwan in the short-medium term (5-10 years) -- otherwise we'd be seeing them pour money into things that would be militarily, mature, and operationally relevant for that time period rather than systems that will take over a decade or more to reach true maturity.
Xi could easily be around for more than 10 years. That would put him at 77, and if he feels he's still physically and mentally sound, he may decide then is not the time to retire, especially if his legacy is not secure.

It's important to remember that Xi was not a consensus candidate everyone rallied behind as the man to lead China into the future. He was a compromise candidate the various factions were satisfied with because they couldn't agree on their first picks. There was no intention for him to stay on past the previous term limits. Instead, he personally had them removed after removing all opposition from within the party. He has been turning the CCP and the wider Chinese state into his personal vehicle for ambition in a way his predecessors didn't.

Now, if it turns out that actually he's going to step down after one or two more terms, and that he has absolutely no intention to rush resolving the Taiwan problem, great. But his whole attitude has been of a man who wants to go down in history as being as big or bigger than Mao. If he doesn't achieve unification with Taiwan he will easily be surpassed by one of his successors.

Then there's the fact that since Xi came to office China has been continuing to expand its military/naval production, including sea lift capacity. The fact it's also looking to the longer term future does not mean it has no immediate ambitions towards Taiwan. Rather the probably correct assessment is that if/when Taiwan is occupied, conflict with neighbours could become more - not less - likely, so China will need to avoid falling behind in the technological arms race or even leap ahead to secure its position.

As I said, China is going to wait and see - I think at least until 2024 or 2028. But if the DPP is still in power then I think the chances of an attack start to escalate even if there have been no moves towards de jure independence.

You are being remarkably cavalier if you don't think the situation right now between the three parties does not have the potential for military conflict if two of those sides misread each other's intentions.
I never said there wasn't the potential for conflict. The fact that not just China, Taiwan and the US, but also increasingly Japan, Australia and others are looking towards the area shows plenty of people think there is a significant risk there.
China's current strategy wrt Taiwan is quite simple.
1. Use every means to deter Taiwan and/or other countries from carrying out actions that would move it towards more in the direction of de jure independence (other similar matters including but not limited to Taiwan acquiring nuclear weapons, formal placement of foreign military forces on the island etc).)
This is one of the problems with China's red lines. It was suggested that the sale of new F-16s was a red line, which is why Obama didn't authorise them. Then Trump did, and there wasn't much of a reaction from China. Doesn't Japanese assistance to the domestic Taiwanese submarine project risk giving Taipei a significant military capability that could enable it to risk de jure independence? Again, no response from Beijing that I can recall, unless the increasing number of sorties towards Japanese airspace are an indirect way to warn Japan off (if so, it's not working).

I'm sure China does have red lines like entire divisions of US personnel being stationed on Taiwan, or de jure independence. But for the rest it's not clear what they are, if they exist at all.

2. Be willing to use military force and its associated escalation ladder, either against Taiwan and/or other outside parties that involve themselves in the matter, in the event deterrence fails and the red line of de jure independence is crossed (or the aforementioned other red lines).
I think that de jure independence is the least likely scenario in the next 10-20 years if China doesn't start preparing for an attack. That's why the Taiwanese government has repeatedly stressed that Taiwan is already independent, because it takes pressure off formalising it.
3. Continue to accrue military, economic, geopolitical capability in general over time, to enhance above 1. and 2. in context of whatever the geopolitical conditions of the period are. This point is basically acknowledging that in terms of the hard power ability to deter Taiwan from moving to de jure independence, and the hard power ability to achieve a more favourable outcome in point 2., would both favour China more if something like this happened more into the future. I.e.: that China feels like time is on its side.
What happened to the supposed red line of Taiwan putting off talks on unification? If after even 50 years Taiwan says "we're good, thanks", does the CCP still shrug and go "ok"?
I find these assertions that China is going to invade Taiwan in the near term
Don't confuse 100% certainty with concern there's a significant risk. I can't predict the future, and I hope that China could open no-strings talks with Taipei and commit in the future to peaceful unification without a time-limit (assuming no de jure independence for Taiwan).
 

Mr T

Senior Member
Just because China has red lines it does not mean they will not react at the time and way of their own choosing instead of at the most convenient time and way for someone else.
The point of a red line is to stop the behaviour in question from happening and to stop others taking other action you want to stop. Waiting too long disconnects the response from the offending action, which in turn reduces the effectiveness of other warnings.

Not even publicly admonishing Japan for its involvement in the Taiwan submarine project means that nothing is likely to change, so said behaviour China supposedly doesn't want is ongoing. Even if we assume that the PLAAF's recent sorties towards Japan are linked to the submarines, the lack of direct connection means that the Japanese government is unlikely to change course and may adopt a more hawkish position, because it feels China is being a bully rather than reacting to something potentially unreasonable done by Japan.

If Taiwan formally changed its constitution to show it was an independent republic and not part of China, yes Beijing probably wouldn't suddenly throw all its military into the mix before it could prepare properly. But waiting years would imply that, despite its arguments to the contrary, it wasn't willing to face the potential consequences of an attack. That would be terrible for the CCP.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
Xi could easily be around for more than 10 years. That would put him at 77, and if he feels he's still physically and mentally sound, he may decide then is not the time to retire, especially if his legacy is not secure.

It's important to remember that Xi was not a consensus candidate everyone rallied behind as the man to lead China into the future. He was a compromise candidate the various factions were satisfied with because they couldn't agree on their first picks. There was no intention for him to stay on past the previous term limits. Instead, he personally had them removed after removing all opposition from within the party. He has been turning the CCP and the wider Chinese state into his personal vehicle for ambition in a way his predecessors didn't.

Now, if it turns out that actually he's going to step down after one or two more terms, and that he has absolutely no intention to rush resolving the Taiwan problem, great. But his whole attitude has been of a man who wants to go down in history as being as big or bigger than Mao. If he doesn't achieve unification with Taiwan he will easily be surpassed by one of his successors.

Then there's the fact that since Xi came to office China has been continuing to expand its military/naval production, including sea lift capacity. The fact it's also looking to the longer term future does not mean it has no immediate ambitions towards Taiwan. Rather the probably correct assessment is that if/when Taiwan is occupied, conflict with neighbours could become more - not less - likely, so China will need to avoid falling behind in the technological arms race or even leap ahead to secure its position.

As I said, China is going to wait and see - I think at least until 2024 or 2028. But if the DPP is still in power then I think the chances of an attack start to escalate even if there have been no moves towards de jure independence.

I think we have very differing views of what Xi has achieved and is seeking to achieve, but that's a topic for another time.

I will just say that if China was planning actively for a no holds barrelled invasion at some certain point within the next 5-10 years, we would not be seeing their current military procurement and nation building priorities be what they are today.

The expansion of their current naval forces and sea lift capability is one where they are hedging their bets to be capable of conducting a Taiwan invasion if deterrence fails -- but their procurement and development they have at present is not the capability they would want if they had a specific date in mind this decade to invade.



I never said there wasn't the potential for conflict. The fact that not just China, Taiwan and the US, but also increasingly Japan, Australia and others are looking towards the area shows plenty of people think there is a significant risk there.

This is one of the problems with China's red lines. It was suggested that the sale of new F-16s was a red line, which is why Obama didn't authorise them. Then Trump did, and there wasn't much of a reaction from China. Doesn't Japanese assistance to the domestic Taiwanese submarine project risk giving Taipei a significant military capability that could enable it to risk de jure independence? Again, no response from Beijing that I can recall, unless the increasing number of sorties towards Japanese airspace are an indirect way to warn Japan off (if so, it's not working).

I'm sure China does have red lines like entire divisions of US personnel being stationed on Taiwan, or de jure independence. But for the rest it's not clear what they are, if they exist at all.

On the one hand you acknowledge there is potential for conflict, yet on the other hand you are unable to comprehend Chinese warnings and red lines.

China has made it quite clear what the red lines that would put it to use military force would be, and actions like selling F-16s, and the US salami slicing to try to dance near the line of de jure independence, while ultimately annoying, do not cross the red line that would necessitate a military response.
What instead has happened, which everyone has noticed, is an uptick in cross strait tensions, increasingly regular Chinese military activity around Taiwan, and a deterioration in Sino-US relations -- some of which is of course related to the general great power competition between the US and China, but some of which is starkly a result of those salami slicing tactics.


I think that de jure independence is the least likely scenario in the next 10-20 years if China doesn't start preparing for an attack. That's why the Taiwanese government has repeatedly stressed that Taiwan is already independent, because it takes pressure off formalising it.

What happened to the supposed red line of Taiwan putting off talks on unification? If after even 50 years Taiwan says "we're good, thanks", does the CCP still shrug and go "ok"?

Don't confuse 100% certainty with concern there's a significant risk. I can't predict the future, and I hope that China could open no-strings talks with Taipei and commit in the future to peaceful unification without a time-limit (assuming no de jure independence for Taiwan).

All of this is inconsequential to my overall point, which is that I do not see any indication of China gearing itself up for a military conflict within this decade -- if it were, we wouldn't be seeing them invest in the nation building and military capabilities that they're pursuing right now.


Whatever China's longer term Taiwan strategy is post 2030, well I have a few ideas about it but it's beyond the scope of this conversation and the point I'm trying to make.
 

ougoah

Major
Registered Member
New F-16s being sold and cooperation on submarines with Japan were never red lines. They were lamented publicly and advised against, no different to any other Taiwanese military procurement in the past.

These were not and are not red lines for the mainland. The red lines involve Taiwan formally declaring independence or foreign military bases and positioned being established within Taiwan. Those are the only things. Taiwan's bought plenty of military equipment in the past. Unless we're talking BMD and new offensive weapons that can strike deep into the mainland like its industrial and political centres, no weapons procurement like diesel subs and newer 4.5 gen fighters in an era of 5th gen and beyond, could truly make Taiwan step over the red line.

These new F-16s are much less effective today than they were during Obama's era. Even back then, they weren't exactly F-35s. Lol the mainland would probably secretly love it if Taiwan bought very modern high end military equipment from the US.

The planned diesel subs are cooperative work that's only beginning. Again the threat is years if not a decade or more away and even then, there is every chance they don't amount to much if anything more than a slower rate of military development and build up. The mainland doesn't expect Taiwanese military to be forever stuck in the 1990s and on their own developments. F-16s and some distant future diesel subs are not exactly military threats that even comes close to the US military threat or even Japan's. Making these trivial matters a red line is silly. It has not and won't become a red line when the main threats are far greater.
 

Skywatcher

Captain
Why bother? That isn't going to fool a person (or even halfway decent image recognition software).

In fact, it actually degrades the CM-32's performance (I assume the optics are behind that mock barrel/crane arm, but the latter's sagging is not... er optimal for sensor function.
 

voyager1

Junior Member
Registered Member
Why bother? That isn't going to fool a person (or even halfway decent image recognition software).

In fact, it actually degrades the CM-32's performance (I assume the optics are behind that mock barrel/crane arm, but the latter's sagging is not... er optimal for sensor function.
I know that these photos are funny, but I dont see how, for example, a drone operator could recognise it for military vehicles from that height (above)

Now if you are on the ground, then thats easily recognisable(wheels), but from other angles and from a distance then i dont see why it couldn't fool image recognition. You have to take into the account that even with a powerful resolution the camera sensor wouldnt be able to distinguish small details from such a distance and from above
 

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