Beijing’s recent war game in the Taiwan Strait has made the question, “will China invade Taiwan” a hot topic. Political analysts believe China is serious about its threat to annex the island nation.
China saw Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in 2022 as a slap in the face. How did Beijing react to this? They started a war game in the Taiwan Strait, with sounds of missiles and warplanes flying into Taiwan’s airspace.
The People’s Liberation Army has been around Taiwan’s corridor for several months. And they’re not showing signs of leaving anytime soon.
Many experts fear a battle between China and Taiwan is raging. On the flip side, some believe China will never attack Taiwan. Here’s what we think is the answer to this thought-provoking question.
Will China Invade Taiwan?
Political analysts and top military personnel in the United States of America believe so. They think it’s only a matter of time before Beijing invades the island nation.
Beijing has heightened fear of a possible invasion following its recent war games near the island nation. This has convinced several top U.S. military commanders that an invasion is possible.
For instance, Adm. Philip Davison, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, believes Beijing could strike a few decades from now. He believes that the invasion could happen as early as 2027.
Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, shares the same belief. While speaking on LBC tonight with Andrew Marr, Wu stated that Taiwan is preparing for a possible China invasion in 2027.
Joseph Wu has claimed his country is taking China’s threat seriously and claimed 2027 is the year they need to be serious about a possible Beijing threat.
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has not hidden his desire to annex the island nation. He has been vocal about it since he came to power in 2012. Xi Jinping believes Taiwan, an island and democratically governed nation, must reunite with the mainland.
So, it’s only a matter of time before China strikes. But then, will the invasion happen in 2027, as many top military personnel have claimed? It might happen soon or in the future. Only time will tell.
Take Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an example. The world didn’t believe Russia would invade Ukraine, but it eventually happened. So, a weaker U.S. or leadership change might give China the boost it needs to invade Taiwan. However, when and how it will happen depends on the leader, Xi Jinping, or whoever is in charge in Beijing.
Why Is China Planning To Invade Taiwan?
Taiwan and China’s civil war in 1949 gives hints of a forced relationship between both countries. The civil war tore both countries apart. It separated the island nation from the mainland.
The split saw the Communist Party take control of the mainland while Taiwan went its way. Today, the self-governing island, Taiwan, is acting like a sovereign nation. But unfortunately, the United Nations, including other major countries, don’t recognize it as such.
President Jimmy Carter made a move in 1979 that greatly affected Taiwan’s chances of gaining international recognition. He formally recognized Beijing’s government but cut nation-to-nation ties with the Island nation Taiwan.
In response, Congress was swift to pass the Taiwan Relations Act. And this act created a benchmark for the relationship to continue.
China continues to lay claims over Taiwan. But the question is, did Taiwan ever belong to China or is Beijing planning an invasion because it believes it could crush Taiwan?
History has it that the Qing dynasty of China annexed the island nation in 1683, then ceded it to the Empire of Japan in 1895. The Republic of China, which overthrew the Qing Dynasty in 1911, assumed control over Taiwan following Japan’s surrender in 1945. Japan’s sovereignty over Taiwan was renounced in 1952.
China believes it owns Taiwan, but the PRC only owns and rules mainland China. The claim of ownership of Taiwan is baseless. It’s like saying Great Britain owns America because they once colonized it.
Is Taiwan Important To The United States of America?
Yes, the Island nation is essential to the United States. Years ago, this wasn’t the case. The relationship between Taiwan and the U.S. wasn’t as strong as today.
Taiwan has shown how important it is to the United States, the United Kingdom, and the rest of the world. To the United States, the Island nation has proven to be a vital partner in investment, trade, health, semiconductors, education, science and technology, and critical supply chains.
Regarding advancing democratic values, the United States holds Taiwan in high regard. That’s why its approach to the Island nation has remained consistent and solid across decades, including administrations.
A Handy Tip: The United States boasts a longstanding “One China” policy backed by the Taiwan Relations Act, including the three U.S.-China joint Communiqués and Six Assurances.
The United States has reiterated its interest in the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.
Can Taiwan Defend Itself Against China?
Taiwan’s population in 2023 is 23,926,005, which isn’t even up to half of China’s population. China’s population in 2023 is 1,425,671,352.
China’s active military personnel are 2,035,000, more than any other country. In contrast, Taiwan’s active military personnel are 169,000, backed by 1.66 million “civilian warriors.”
China boasts more naval ships and submarines than Taiwan. It boasts 86 naval ships, including 59 submarines. In contrast, Taiwan operates 26 naval ships, including four submarines.
China also outnumbers Taiwan in the area of air power. It boasts 2,921 warplanes and the J-20s, while Taipei has only 744 aircraft.
China has more tanks than Taipei. While Beijing has 4,800 tanks, Taiwan has 650. Its self-propelled artillery is approximately 9,550, while Taipei has 2,093.
China has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with GDP growing at 9.5% through 2018, a rate the World Bank describes as the fastest sustainable expansion by a major economy.
China’s military spending is much higher than Taipei’s. In 2022, Beijing announced a $225 billion defense spending, a 7.2% rise and the fastest increase since 2019.
Taipei is also doing its best to upgrade its military hardware and beef up its defense. Threats of a possible China invasion have also heightened Taipei’s fear and provided reasonable ground for increased military spending.
The Taiwanese administration also increased its defense budget in 2022, though it’s nowhere near Beijing’s. Taipei increased its budget to $19 billion, an approximately 15% increase from the previous year. The funds include the purchase of several fighter jets following Beijing’s threat of a possible invasion and destabilizing war games around the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan is racing against time to enhance its naval and air combat capabilities to counter China’s perceived threats. But how prepared is the Island nation against China’s aggression? Can it withstand Beijing?
Taipei has made massive strides in boosting its military capabilities in the last few years. Still, its ability to defend itself against a world power like China remains limited.
Two things give China an advantage over Taiwan, despite the support it could garner from allies and the military hardware it possesses. These include the Island nation’s proximity to China and Beijing’s military prowess. These two will pose a significant challenge to Taipei’s defense strategy.
Experts believe Taipei doesn’t stand a chance against China, but a full-scale invasion of the island nation is unlikely. Even if such were to happen, experts believe Taipei has all it takes to deter Beijing’s military might, pending when its allies respond.
Beijing has been on a war game in the region, simulating a complete attack on Taiwan ranging from missile bombardment to cutting the island off via blocking air and sea traffic. The war games have been satisfactory for Xi Jinping and the military authorities in China.
Taiwan, the United States of America and its allies consider the war games unnecessary. And they are viewed as intimidation. The White House has not hidden its desire to react should China invade the Island nation. So, it will be a devastating war involving several allies, not only Taiwan and China.
Will China invade Taiwan? While political analysts and top military personnel in the United States Army believe an invasion is likely in the future, some experts can’t see such a happening.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced Beijing’s hand backwards. They have seen Russia’s massive losses and are probably trying to assess their options.
Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, believes it’s only a matter of when, not if, China will annex the island nation. If anything, the recent war games China played around the island struck fear into Taiwan’s and the United States of America’s hearts.
Many believe the invasion could happen in 2027, while others believe it could happen before. But if and the possibility of when an invasion could happen depends on Beijing.