Is China Really Plotting to Invade Taiwan?

Invasion of Taiwan

Is China Really Plotting to Invade Taiwan?

Beijing is displeased with American support for Taipei and is upping the pressure to see what it can get away with and how Washington might respond.

Warnings have been coming from the U.S. government that China is “probably accelerating its timetable” when it comes to a possible capture of Taiwan, according to an Associated Press piece published this week.

There has been an indication, in the opening months of the Biden Administration, that China has been getting more aggressive with Taiwan. Most recently, ten People’s Liberation Army aircraft flew sorties into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. There have also been, per the AP, near-daily Chinese aerial incursions near Taiwan.

Analysts have described China’s actions of late as Beijing’s “realization that U.S. commitments to Taiwan under a Biden administration will remain solid, dashing Chinese hopes that a Democrat government would overturn what China regarded as an aberration in U.S. behavior toward its Asian ally under President Trump.”

Another report, by Reuters Wednesday, stated that China has sent more fighter jets into Taiwan’s air defense zone, and Taiwan’s foreign minister vowed to “fight to the very last day” in the event of a Chinese attack.

“From my limited understanding of American decision makers watching developments in this region, they clearly see the danger of the possibility of China launching an attack against Taiwan,” Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said this week.

“We are willing to defend ourselves without any questions and we will fight the war if we need to fight the war. And if we need to defend ourselves to the very last day, we will defend ourselves to the very last day.”

The AP report quoted top military brass in the United States referencing China’s recent actions.

“We have indications that the risks are actually going up,” Adm. Philip Davidson, the U.S. military commander in the Asia-Pacific region, told Congress earlier this spring. “The threat is manifest during this decade—in fact, in the next six years.”

The recent meeting in Alaska between Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Chinese officials appears to have been contentious, per the report.

The actions by China, per the report, are meant to put the United States in the difficult position of having to choose between neglecting to protect Taiwan versus getting into a massive war with China.

“The implications of a Chinese military move against Taiwan and its 23 million people are so profound and potentially grave that Beijing and Washington have long managed a fragile middle ground—Taiwanese political autonomy that precludes control by Beijing but stops short of formal independence,” the report said.

In addition, China has been aggressive of late in the South China Sea, getting into a dispute in recent weeks with the Philippines about a fleet of ships in that region. The Philippines’ government has said that China is “encroaching upon its territorial waters in the South China Sea.” 

Meanwhile, amid the coronavirus pandemic, anti-China messaging has become a massive part of the rhetoric in U.S. politics, especially by the Republican Party.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.