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China and Taiwan, sitting in a tree
April 10, 2004 10:39 AM   Subscribe

The year to fear for Taiwan: 2006. The Taiwan correspondent for Jane's Defence Weekly speculates on how China might go about the conquest of Taiwan.
posted by homunculus (13 comments total)

 
French naval officer: Chinese navy impressive
posted by clavdivs at 10:55 AM on April 10, 2004


2006 - the Year of the Dog - is clearly the year to fear.

Bush was born in the year of the Dog .. Dogs in Chinese astrology are characterized by pack animal behavior, your either with the Dog, or against the Dog. Taiwan and China could be the same way, bring it back to the pack (*)

(*) Astrology is purely entertainment but when enough people believe it is self-fulfilling.
posted by stbalbach at 11:06 AM on April 10, 2004


I'd be very surprised if China did this 'decapitation coup' two years before the olympics. Wouldn't this prompt some Boycotting of the event from countries on friendly terms with Taiwan?

Then again, would China give a rat's ass about it if they did?
posted by Busithoth at 11:13 AM on April 10, 2004


It really makes very little sense for China to go after Taiwan, even with all that heated rhetoric coming from both sides of the strait. Taiwan probably has billions invested in China, which is contributing to the growth of China's prosperity and economy. Why would China risk it's economy and possible world standing by going after a tiny island?
posted by gyc at 12:29 PM on April 10, 2004


I think the longterm consequences would be either trivial or devastating. If, as the author speculates, a quick decapitation move does not bring US intervention, them trivial and the Olympics will go ahead just fine. It the US is drawn in and if the Chinese do assualt US bases (also mentioned) AND Bush is still flying AFOne, then we are in for a nuclear tragedy because the missiles will be a'launching. In either case, gyc's economic argument will not factor in as the businessmen involved are far to pragmatic.

homunculus, great post!
posted by billsaysthis at 1:26 PM on April 10, 2004


Infiltrators might receive some assistance from sympathetic elements within Taiwan's military and police, who are believed to be at least 75 percent pro-Kuomintang (KMT), and hence, pro-unification.

Is this a joke? Yeah, the KMT is pro-unification—under the KMT! The KMT has hated Communists for nigh on 80 years now; what on earth would make them suddenly welcome a Communist takeover? That's like saying "Democrats want a united US, so they'll vote for Bush."

That aside, a very thought-provoking article and a great post.
posted by languagehat at 2:05 PM on April 10, 2004


Why would China risk it's economy and possible world standing by going after a tiny island?

China's relationship with Taiwan doesn't make any rational sense. It's a face thing for them, and it's a heritage thing, and it's a history thing. If it came down to that, they would risk it.

But it won't come down to that. As long as China's economic star is rising, and Taiwan's is falling or holding steady, the Chinese believe that Taiwan will inevitably be forced to reunify for economic reasons. Therefore, I don't expect them to resort to force in the foreseeable future.
posted by gd779 at 3:17 PM on April 10, 2004


Oh, and Taiwan still has all the gold.
posted by the fire you left me at 3:28 PM on April 10, 2004


I would think the US would be stuck if PRC attacked RoC. The economic arguments certainly factor in. I wonder what effect losing Taiwan to China woudlhave on the US' high tech industry. So much US high tech industry is developed/manufactured in Taiwan (and increasingly in China via Taiwan). What effect would losing that manufacturing capacity to PRC have? Where would the US go to replace all those engineers and and manufacturing complexes?

Nice post. I sure hope this scenario is never played out. I hate the PRC. Too bad the Chinese can't get rid of them and move to a political democracy. If that were to happen then this would be a moot scenario.
posted by infowar at 4:49 PM on April 10, 2004


China Can't Invade Taiwan - August 2001 editorial from g2mil
posted by y2karl at 5:42 PM on April 10, 2004


y2karl: that editorial will be five years out of date by the time in question, and China's air force will not be matched by Taiwan's any longer.
posted by oaf at 12:12 AM on April 11, 2004


I think gd779 is right. Still, it's an interesting article, and it does show that China has other options besides a Normandy-style invasion.

Meanwhile, in the present:

Arrests follow Taiwanese protest

Thousands rally for HK democracy
posted by homunculus at 11:14 AM on April 11, 2004


Infiltrators might receive some assistance from sympathetic elements within Taiwan's military and police, who are believed to be at least 75 percent pro-Kuomintang (KMT), and hence, pro-unification.

This section makes me think the author has little or no understanding of the Taiwanese situation, and is working off figures from reports instead. As someone who's served in the Taiwan army (and is still in the reserves, technically speaking), I have no doubt that it does need reform, but I don't think that means the entire armed forces would simply surrender at the first sign of hostilities. I mean, hey, we can finally use our guns for something other than target practice.
posted by Poagao at 7:30 PM on April 11, 2004


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