Posted 17 августа 2021,, 10:58

Published 17 августа 2021,, 10:58

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

It won't be simple to prevail over: How easy China can seize Taiwan

It won't be simple to prevail over: How easy China can seize Taiwan

17 августа 2021, 10:58
With all its might, the Chinese army is unlikely to be able to easily recapture Taiwan, but the tense situation around the island is only playing into the hands of the American military

Victor Kuzovkov

Talk about a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan occurs at regular intervals. Moreover, the reasons for them are usually quite serious - the People's Liberation Army of China (PLA) will hold large-scale exercises near the island, then Chinese officials will threateningly warn Taipei about the consequences if Taiwan proclaims independence, then the next development of Chinese gunsmiths is suspiciously convenient for implementation. landing operations ... But usually in these conversations there is no main thing - the timing of the invasion. And now we finally got it - a former high-ranking American military man, Admiral Phil Davidson, told Congress that China's invasion of Taiwan would take place in the next 6 years.

In order to assess the quality of this forecast, we need to consider the problem from two angles - political and military. Each of them has its own weight and significance, and can directly influence the development of events in the not so distant future. Therefore, without further ado, we will start with the political aspect, especially since in this case it is very peculiar.

Oddly enough, many experts and analysts perceive the confrontation between China and Taiwan as an interstate problem to which international law applies to a certain extent. This idea is supported with all its might in Washington, which wants to be, on the one hand, an arbitrator in this conflict, and on the other hand, is a de facto lawyer for Taipei. Almost forcibly driving the problem into the framework of international law, the United States is probably pursuing only one goal - to win over as many other states as possible, which, of course, will not be very happy about the violation of this very right.

Meanwhile, oddly enough, the relationship between Beijing and Taipei is an internal affair of China. And here's why ... Today Taiwan is not a de jure independent state. In 1949, after a series of sensitive defeats from the communists, the army and the top of the then ruling Kuomintang party were evacuated to Taiwan (at that time - Formosa), where they organized a kind of "government in exile." But formally, there is no question of expulsion - Taiwan is part of China, in Taipei they insist on this in every possible way, and it claims power in all of China.

The situation was really strange. Suffice it to say that until 1971, it was the representatives of Taipei who represented China in the UN Security Council. At the same time, as we know, all power in mainland China belonged to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Gradually, as the communists strengthened, relations with them became more and more important for many political players, including the Americans, who decided to take advantage of the quarrel between Beijing and Moscow and create a stone on the feet of the USSR from the PRC. And already out of pragmatic, and not political, considerations, Taipei was gradually relegated to the background.

At the same time, I must say, the United States did not refuse cooperation with Taiwan and its support. This included, among other things, Washington's supply of weapons to Taipei, political support and even military protection. As a result, a rather strange situation developed in the region, when Beijing tolerated Washington's flirtations with Taipei in order to achieve economic growth, and the United States, having become the largest investor in the Chinese economy and the largest importer of Chinese products, still played a double game, invariably taking the side of Taiwan in crisis situations ...

One way or another, today the situation is as follows: for international law there is no interstate conflict, there is only an internal problem of the PRC, and in the event of a military invasion by the PLA in Taiwan, this should be perceived as an attempt by the legitimate government to restore order in its rebellious province. This vision of the situation, as already mentioned, is not very beneficial for Washington, but everything is in its hands - as you know, the world looks at conflicts through the eyes of the Western-controlled media, and we will see a hypothetical Chinese invasion of Taiwan as the BBC and CNN.

As for the military aspect, everything is not as obvious as it might seem at first glance. Yes, over the past decades, mainland China has multiplied its military power. Yes, it may seem that the military seizure of Taiwan for Beijing is almost a joke task. But if you look at the problem deeper, you can see some nuances that, at least, complicate this task to the point of almost complete insolubility.

To begin with, let's note the introductory data - the population of Taiwan is about twenty-five million people. This is not very much in comparison with the PRC, but if we abstract from the Asian demographic constants, this is a very serious figure. At the moment, the Taiwanese army has about half a million troops under arms, and this, given the scale of the island state, is a lot. In the case of full mobilization, it is easy to admit both a doubling and a tripling of this figure. That is, the Chinese army will need to transfer at least several million soldiers to Taiwan in order to be able to conduct active offensive operations on the island.

Beijing has soldiers, and even in abundance. But with their transfer, very big problems can arise. First of all, we note: the width of the Taiwan Strait, on average, is about 150 kilometers. Forcing such a barrier is not even close to forcing a European river, through which at least dozens of pontoon crossings can be led. In fact, there are only two legitimate ways - landing ships and barges, or airborne assault. Both, taking into account the required scale of the invasion, will need to be used many times. That is, the landing must go in several waves, each of which will almost certainly encounter fierce resistance.

In general, there is an opinion that the theory of amphibious operations has become very outdated with the advent of high-precision weapons. What we remember from the times of World War II has long been overgrown with past and covered with rust - alas, in modern conditions, daring landing operations like the crossing of the Dnieper would almost certainly end in complete fiasco. The reason is simple and obvious - a high-precision weapon capable of destroying amphibious assault weapons on the way, and then finishing off those who landed on a narrow strip of the coastline. Add to this aviation, which has learned to bomb with almost extreme accuracy, and multiple launch rocket systems, the accuracy of which, although inferior to the accuracy of some artillery systems, is quite sufficient for massive processing of the footholds captured by the enemy.

In order to give its landing a chance, the PLA must ensure itself complete air superiority. Only in this case will it be possible to neutralize the enemy artillery and MLRS batteries in advance, to knock out or destroy enemy aircraft at the airfields. But on this issue, the position of the Chinese military aviation, frankly, is not perfect.

Despite all the successes of recent decades, the PLA Air Force still lags behind the leading manufacturers of aircraft. At the same time, the Taiwanese army has always focused on Western suppliers of aircraft, in particular, American and French. Suffice it to say that the Taiwan Air Force is armed with more than 50 Mirage 2000 fighters, about one hundred and fifty F-16 fighters of various modifications of American design and more than one hundred AIDC F-CK-1 fighters of its own design. That is, there are more than three hundred multi-role fighters of various types in total, most of which, at least, are not inferior to their Chinese opponents. We add to this the presence of American-made AWACS aircraft, the use of which dramatically increases the effectiveness of the combat use of fighter aircraft, as well as anti-aircraft missile systems of various types, which sharply increase the combat stability of the entire air defense grouping.

In fact, the situation there is approximately the following - none of the opponents has decisive air superiority, and the quantitative superiority of the PLA Air Force is leveled by the need to conduct air battles over foreign territory. In such a situation, if it is possible to admit some kind of air superiority of the PRC aviation, it is hardly sufficient to support the largest landing operation in history. And this means, at a minimum, that the PLA's losses during the landing may turn out to be exorbitant and completely unacceptable - both in human resources and in military equipment, primarily landing ships and barges.

We add to this that if the PLA fails to ensure the surprise of the landing, the enemy can carry out in advance the massive mining of the proposed landing sites. Well, an airborne operation without complete air superiority is likely to be suicidal for the Chinese side.

That is, it is a large amphibious operation against Taiwan with a one-time or phased seizure of the island that looks like the most fantastic option of all. With all due respect to the PLA, one must not respect the Taiwan army at all in order to predict its almost instant fall. Rather, in this situation, it is possible to predict the final defeat of the PLA ...

More pragmatic and, ultimately, effective, looks like the option of a naval blockade of Taiwan by the PRC Navy. Given the island nation's reliance on maritime trade, such a blockade would surely lead to Taipei's early surrender. True, there is one big "but" ...

In fact, mainland China itself is critically dependent on sea trade. And in the event of a blockade of Taiwan, he may face a counter blockade, already from the United States. Which will put Beijing in front of a difficult choice - to declare war on Washington or to surrender on the sly, hoping that Uncle Sam will not be very strict and the flogging will be symbolic.

Of course, there remains the option of using nuclear weapons by China, of which, unlike Taiwan, it has enough. It may very significantly reshape our analysis, but for now, let's take it for granted - China is unlikely to want to bomb its own territory with a nuclear bombardment. And in this case, the international resonance could block all Beijing's efforts to present the case with its own little internal showdown. With all, as they say, following ...

To summarize, suppose that once again it is a question of "dissolving" the American congressmen for money for the American army. And here, as they say, all means are good - enemies should be presented not just in black, but also strong, powerful, dangerous and very threatening American interests.

This, by the way, is quite reasonable. Our military would have learned this faster ...