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[台湾] Taiwan Can Win a War With China

发表于 6/24/2019 14:40:16 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
本帖最后由 郭国汀 于 6/24/2019 14:55 编辑

Taiwan Can Win a War With China
Beijing boasts it can seize the island easily. The PLA knows better.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke to the 19th Party Congress about the future of Taiwan last year, his message was ominous and unequivocal: “We have firm will, full confidence, and sufficient capability to defeat any form of Taiwan independence secession plot. We will never allow any person, any organization, or any political party to split any part of the Chinese territory from China at any time or in any form.”
This remark drew the longest applause of his entire three-hour speech—but it’s not a new message. The invincibility of Chinese arms in the face of Taiwanese “separatists” and the inevitability of reunification are constant Chinese Communist Party themes. At its base, the threat made by Xi is that the People’s Liberation Army has the power to defeat the Taiwanese military and destroy its democracy by force, if need be. Xi understands the consequences of failure here. “We have the determination, the ability and the preparedness to deal with Taiwanese independence,” he stated in 2016, “and if we do not deal with it, we will be overthrown.”

China has already ratcheted up economic and diplomatic pressure on the island since the 2016 election of Tsai Ing-wen and the independence-friendly Democratic Progressive Party. Saber-rattling around the Taiwan Strait has been common. But China might not be able to deliver on its repeated threats. Despite the vast discrepancy in size between the two countries, there’s a real possibility that Taiwan could fight off a Chinese attack—even without direct aid from the United States.
Two recent studies, one by Michael Beckley, a political scientist at Tufts University, and the other by Ian Easton, a fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, in his book The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia, provide us with a clearer picture of what a war between Taiwan and the mainland might look like. Grounded in statistics, training manuals, and planning documents from the PLA itself, and informed by simulations and studies conducted by both the U.S. Defense Department and the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense, this research presents a very different picture of a cross-strait conflict than that hawked by the party’s official announcements.
Chinese commanders fear they may be forced into armed contest with an enemy that is better trained, better motivated, and better prepared for the rigors of warfare than troops the PLA could throw against them.
Chinese commanders fear they may be forced into armed contest with an enemy that is better trained, better motivated, and better prepared for the rigors of warfare than troops the PLA could throw against them.
A cross-strait war looks far less like an inevitable victory for China than it does a staggeringly risky gamble.

Chinese army documents imagine that this gamble will begin with missiles. For months, the PLA’s Rocket Force will have been preparing this opening salvo; from the second war begins until the day the invasion commences, these missiles will scream toward the Taiwanese coast, with airfields, communication hubs, radar equipment, transportation nodes, and government offices in their sights. Concurrently, party sleeper agents or special forces discreetly ferried across the strait will begin an assassination campaign targeting the president and her Cabinet, other leaders of the Democratic Progressive Party, officials at key bureaucracies, prominent media personalities, important scientists or engineers, and their families.

The goal of all this is twofold. In the narrower tactical sense, the PLA hopes to destroy as much of the Taiwanese Air Force on the ground as it can and from that point forward keep things chaotic enough on the ground that the Taiwan’s Air Force cannot sortie fast enough to challenge China’s control of the air. The missile campaign’s second aim is simpler: paralysis. With the president dead, leadership mute, communications down, and transportation impossible, the Taiwanese forces will be left rudderless, demoralized, and disoriented. This “shock and awe” campaign will pave the way for the invasion proper.
This invasion will be the largest amphibious operation in human history. Tens of thousands of vessels will be assembled—mostly commandeered from the Chinese merchant marine—to ferry 1 million Chinese troops across the strait, who will arrive in two waves. Their landing will be preceded by a fury of missiles and rockets, launched from the Rocket Force units in Fujian, Chinese Air Force fighter bombers flying in the strait, and the escort fleet itself.
Confused, cut off, and overwhelmed, the Taiwanese forces who have survived thus far will soon run out of supplies and be forced to abandon the beaches. Once the beachhead is secured, the process will begin again: With full air superiority, the PLA will have the pick of their targets, Taiwanese command and control will be destroyed, and isolated Taiwanese units will be swept aside by the Chinese army’s advance. Within a week, they will have marched into Taipei; within two weeks they will have implemented a draconian martial law intended to convert the island into the pliant forward operating base the PLA will need to defend against the anticipated Japanese and American counter-campaigns.

Treacherous Conditions in the Taiwan Strait
JanuaryGalesHighLow cloudsPoor
FebruaryGalesHighHeavy fog*Poor
MarchN/AHigh to low**Heavy fogVaries
AprilN/ALowHeavy fogGood
MayPlum rainsLowHeavy fogVaries
JunePlum rainsLowFog, currents***Poor
JulyTyphoonsVaries with stormsStrong currentsPoor
AugustTyphoonsVaries with stormsStrong currentsPoor
SeptemberTyphoonsVaries with stormsStrong currentsPoor
OctoberN/ALow to high**N/AGood
NovemberGalesHighLow cloudsPoor
DecemberGalesHighLow cloudsPoor

*Fog is a major operational factor from Feb. 15 to June 15, with the worst fog in the morning hours of April and May. Overall, average visibility is 1.2 miles in spring, 2.4 miles in winter, and 6.2 miles in summer.
**The wind and wave conditions start out as high in early March and become very low by the end of the month. By October, that is reversed.
***Currents in the strait tend to be stronger in summer and weak in winter.
Sources: Ian Easton, The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan ‘s Defense and American Strategy in Asia, p. 172.
This is the best-case scenario for the PLA. But an island docile and defeated two weeks after D-Day is not a guaranteed outcome. One of the central hurdles facing the offensive is surprise. The PLA simply will not have it. The invasion will happen in April or October. Because of the challenges posed by the strait’s weather, a transport fleet can only make it across the strait in one of these two four-week windows. The scale of the invasion will be so large that strategic surprise will not be possible, especially given the extensive mutual penetration of each side by the other’s intelligence agencies.

Easton estimates that Taiwanese, American, and Japanese leaders will know that the PLA is preparing for a cross-strait war more than 60 days before hostilities begin. They will know for certain that an invasion will happen more than 30 days before the first missiles are fired. This will give the Taiwanese ample time to move much of their command and control infrastructure into hardened mountain tunnels, move their fleet out of vulnerable ports, detain suspected agents and intelligence operatives, litter the ocean with sea mines, disperse and camouflage army units across the country, put the economy on war footing, and distribute weapons to Taiwan’s 2.5 million reservists.
There are only 13 beaches on Taiwan’s western coast that the PLA could possibly land at. Each of these has already been prepared for a potential conflict. Long underground tunnels—complete with hardened, subterranean supply depots—crisscross the landing sites. The berm of each beach has been covered with razor-leaf plants. Chemical treatment plants are common in many beach towns—meaning that invaders must prepare for the clouds of toxic gas any indiscriminate saturation bombing on their part will release. This is how things stand in times of peace.
As war approaches, each beach will be turned into a workshop of horrors. The path from these beaches to the capital has been painstakingly mapped; once a state of emergency has been declared, each step of the journey will be complicated or booby-trapped. PLA war manuals warn soldiers that skyscrapers and rock outcrops will have steel cords strung between them to entangle helicopters; tunnels, bridges, and overpasses will be rigged with munitions (to be destroyed only at the last possible moment); and building after building in Taiwan’s dense urban core will be transformed into small redoubts meant to drag Chinese units into drawn-out fights over each city street.

To understand the real strength of these defenses, imagine them as a PLA grunt would experience them. Like most privates, he is a countryside boy from a poor province. He has been told his entire life that Taiwan has been totally and fatally eclipsed by Chinese power. He will be eager to put the separatists in their place. Yet events will not work out as he has imagined. In the weeks leading up to war, he discovers that his older cousin—whose remittances support their grandparents in the Anhui countryside—has lost her job in Shanghai. All wire money transfers from Taipei have stopped, and the millions of Chinese who are employed by Taiwanese companies have had their pay suspended.

Our private celebrates the opening of hostilities in Shanwei, where he is rushed through a three-week training course on fighting in the fetid and unfamiliar jungles of China’s south. By now, the PLA has put him in a media blackout, but still rumors creep in: Yesterday it was whispered that the 10-hour delay in their train schedule had nothing to do with an overwhelmed transportation system and everything to do with Taiwanese saboteurs. Today’s whispers report that the commander of the 1st Marine Brigade in Zhanjiang was assassinated. Tomorrow, men will wonder if rolling power outages really are just an attempt to save power for the war effort.
But by the time he reaches the staging area in Fuzhou, the myth of China’s invincibility has been shattered by more than rumors. The gray ruins of Fuzhou’s PLA offices are his first introduction to the terror of missile attack. Perhaps he takes comfort in the fact that the salvos coming from Taiwan do not seem to match the number of salvos streaking toward it—but abstractions like this can only do so much to shore up broken nerves, and he doesn’t have the time to acclimate himself to the shock. Blast by terrifying blast, his confidence that the Chinese army can keep him safe is chipped away.
The last, most terrible salvo comes as he embarks—he is one of the lucky few setting foot on a proper amphibious assault boat, not a civilian vessel converted to war use in the eleventh hour—but this is only the first of many horrors on the waters. Some transports are sunk by Taiwanese torpedoes, released by submarines held in reserve for this day. Airborne Harpoon missiles, fired by F-16s leaving the safety of cavernous, nuclear-proof mountain bunkers for the first time in the war, will destroy others. The greatest casualties, however, will be caused by sea mines. Minefield after minefield must be crossed by every ship in the flotilla, some a harrowing eight miles in width. Seasick thanks to the strait’s rough waves, our grunt can do nothing but pray his ship safely makes it across.
As he approaches land, the psychological pressure increases. The first craft to cross the shore will be met, as Easton’s research shows, with a sudden wall of flame springing up from the water from the miles of oil-filled pipeline sunk underneath. As his ship makes it through the fire (he is lucky; others around it are speared or entangled on sea traps) he faces what Easton describes as a mile’s worth of “razor wire nets, hook boards, skin-peeling planks, barbed wire fences, wire obstacles, spike strips, landmines, anti-tank barrier walls, anti-tank obstacles … bamboo spikes, felled trees, truck shipping containers, and junkyard cars.”
At this stage, his safety depends largely on whether the Chinese Air Force has been able to able to distinguish between real artillery pieces from the hundreds of decoy targets and dummy equipment PLA manuals believe the Taiwanese Army has created. The odds are against him: As Beckley notes in a study published last fall, in the 1990 to 1991 Gulf War, the 88,500 tons of ordnance dropped by the U.S.-led coalition did not destroy a single Iraqi road-mobile missile launcher. NATO’s 78-day campaign aimed at Serbian air defenses only managed to destroy three of Serbia’s 22 mobile-missile batteries. There is no reason to think that the Chinese Air Force will have a higher success rate when targeting Taiwan’s mobile artillery and missile defense.
But if our grunt survives the initial barrages on the beach, he still must fight his way through the main Taiwanese Army groups, 2.5 million armed reservists dispersed in the dense cities and jungles of Taiwan, and miles of mines, booby traps, and debris. This is an enormous thing to ask of a private who has no personal experience with war. It is an even great thing to ask it of a private who naively believed in his own army’s invincibility.

This sketch makes sense of the anxiety the PLA officer manuals express. They know war would be a terrific gamble, even if they only admit it to each other. Yet it this also makes sense of the party’s violent reactions to even the smallest of arms sales to Taiwan. Their passion betrays their angst. They understand what Western gloom-and-doomsters do not. American analysts use terms like “mature precision-strike regime” and “anti-access and area denial warfare” to describe technological trends that make it extremely difficult to project naval and airpower near enemy shores. Costs favor the defense: It is much cheaper to build a ship-killing missile than it is to build a ship.

But if this means that the Chinese army can counter U.S. force projection at a fraction of America’s costs, it also means that the democracies straddling the East Asian rim can deter Chinese aggression at a fraction of the PLA’s costs. In an era that favors defense, small nations like Taiwan do not need a PLA-sized military budget to keep the Chinese at bay.
No one needs to hear this message more than the Taiwanese themselves. In my trips to Taiwan, I have made a point of tracking down and interviewing both conscripts and career soldiers. Their pessimism is palpable. This morale crisis in the ranks partly reflects the severe mismanagement of the conscription system, which has left even eager Taiwanese patriots disillusioned with their military experience.
But just as important is the lack of knowledge ordinary Taiwanese have about the strength of their islands’ defenses. A recent poll found that 65 percent of Taiwanese “have no confidence” in their military’s ability to hold off the PLA. Absent a vigorous campaign designed to educate the public about the true odds of successful military resistance, the Taiwanese people are likely to judge the security of their island on flawed metrics, like the diminishing number of countries that maintain formal relations with Taipei instead of Beijing. The PLA’s projected campaign is specifically designed to overwhelm and overawe a demoralized Taiwanese military. The most crucial battlefield may be the minds of the Taiwanese themselves. Defeatism is a more dangerous threat to Taiwanese democracy than any weapon in China’s armory.
Both Westerners and Taiwanese should be more optimistic about the defense of Taiwan than is now normal.
Both Westerners and Taiwanese should be more optimistic about the defense of Taiwan than is now normal.
Yes, the Taiwanese Army projects that it can only hold off its enemy for two weeks after the landing—but the PLA also believes that if it cannot defeat the Taiwanese forces in under two weeks, it will lose the war! Yes, the disparity between the military budgets on both sides of the strait is large, and growing—but the Taiwanese do not need parity to deter Chinese aggression. All they need is the freedom to purchase the sort of arms that make invasion unthinkable. If that political battle can be resolved in the halls of Washington, the party will not have the power to threaten battle on the shores of Taiwan.

T. Greer is a writer and analyst formerly based out of Beijing. His research focuses on the evolution of East Asian strategic thought from the time of Sunzi to today.

 楼主| 发表于 6/25/2019 13:55:57 | 显示全部楼层
本帖最后由 郭国汀 于 6/25/2019 14:26 编辑

A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be a bloody, logistical nightmare
By Ben Westcott, CNN
Updated 1:11 AM ET, Mon June 24, 2019

Taiwan (CNN)Roaring out of the sky, an F-16V fighter jet lands smoothly to rearm and refuel on an unremarkable freeway in rural Taiwan, surrounded by rice paddies.

In different circumstances, this could be alarming sight. Taiwan's fighter pilots are trained to land on freeways between sorties in case all of the island's airports have been occupied or destroyed by an invasion.
Luckily, this was a training exercise.

There's only really one enemy that Taiwan's armed forces are preparing to resist -- China's People's Liberation Army (PLA). And as China's reputation as an economic and military superpower has grown in recent years, so too has that threat of invasion, according to security experts.

Taiwan has been self-governed since separating from China at the end of a brutal civil war in 1949, but Beijing has never given up hope of reuniting with what it considers a renegade province.
At a regional security conference in June, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said: "If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs for national unity." In some shops in mainland China, you can buy postcards and T-shirts emblazoned with patriotic emblems promoting the retaking of Taiwan.
But for seven decades, China has resisted attacking Taiwan partly for political reasons, including the prospect of a US intervention and the potential heavy human toll. But the practical realities of a full-blown invasion are also daunting for the PLA, according to experts.

Ferrying hundreds of thousands of troops across the narrow Taiwan Strait to a handful of reliable landing beaches, in the face of fierce resistance, is a harrowing prospect. Troops would then have a long slog over Taiwan's western mudflats and mountains to reach the capital, Taipei.
Not only that, but China would face an opponent who has been preparing for war for almost 70 years.
At mass anti-invasion drills in May, Taiwan military spokesman Maj. Gen. Chen Chung-Chi said the island knew it had to always be "combat-ready."
"Of course, we don't want war, but only by gaining our own strength can we defend ourselves,"
he said. "If China wants to take any action against us, it has to consider paying a painful price."

An historic Chinese Cultural Revolution poster, showing a Chinese soldier and the island of Taiwan. "We must liberate Taiwan," the caption says.

Difficult and bloody
It could be easy to assume that any invasion of Taiwan by Beijing would be brief and devastating for Taipei: a David and Goliath fight between a tiny island and the mainland's military might, population and wealth.
With nearly 1.4 billion people, the People's Republic of China has the largest population in the world. Taiwan has fewer than 24 million people -- a similar number to Australia. China has the fifth largest territory in the world, while Taiwan is the size of Denmark or the US state of Maryland. And Beijing runs an economy that is second only to the United States, while Taiwan's doesn't rank in the world's top 20.
But perhaps most pertinently, China has been building and modernizing its military at an unprecedented rate, while Taiwan relies on moderate US arms sales.

In sheer size, the PLA simply dwarfs Taiwan's military.
China has an estimated 1 million troops, almost 6,000 tanks, 1,500 fighter jets and 33 navy destroyers, according to the latest US Defense Department report. Taiwan's ground force troops barely number 150,000 and are backed by 800 tanks and about 350 fighter aircraft, the report found, while its navy fields only four destroyer-class ships.
Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the PLA has rapidly modernized, buoyed by rises in military spending and crackdowns on corruption in the army's leadership.
"China's leaders hope that possessing these military capabilities will deter pro-independence moves by Taiwan or, should deterrence fail, will permit a range of tailored military options against Taiwan and potential third-party military intervention," according to a 2019 US Defense Intelligence Agency report on China's military.
Yet while China hawks in the media might beat the drum of invasion, an internal China military study, seen by CNN, revealed that the PLA considers an invasion of Taiwan to be extremely difficult.
"Taiwan has a professional military, with a strong core of American-trained experts," said Ian Easton, author of "The Chinese Invasion Threat" and research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, as well as "highly defensible" terrain.
In his book he described an invasion by China as "the most difficult and bloody mission facing the Chinese military."

US-made CM-11 tanks are fired in front of two 8-inch self-propelled artillery guns during military drills in southern Taiwan on May 30.

The plan to take Taiwan
China's Taiwan invasion plan, known internally as the "Joint Island Attack Campaign," would begin with a mass, coordinated bombing of Taiwan's vital infrastructure -- ports and airfields -- to cripple the island's military ahead of an amphibious invasion, according to both Easton and Sidharth Kaushal, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies.
At the same time, the Chinese air force would fly over the Taiwan Strait and try to dominate the island's air space. Once the PLA was satisfied it had suitably disabled Taiwan's air and naval forces, Kaushal said soldiers would begin to invade on the west coast of the island.
The island's rocky, mountainous east coast is considered too inhospitable and far from mainland China.
The amphibious invasion needed to put troops on Taiwan, however, could be the biggest hurdle facing the PLA.
In its 2019 report to Congress, the US Department of Defense said China -- which has one of the largest navies in Asia -- had at its command 37 amphibious transport docks and 22 smaller landing ships, as well as any civilian vessels Beijing could enlist.
That might be enough to occupy smaller islands, such as those in the South China Sea, but an amphibious assault on Taiwan would likely require a bigger arsenal -- and there is "no indication China is significantly expanding its landing ship force," the report said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews a naval parade Thursday in the South China Sea in April 2018.

That makes it vital for Beijing to neutralize Taiwan's navy and air force in the early stages of an attack, Kaushal said.
"The Taiwanese air force would have to sink around 40% of the amphibious landing forces of the PLA in order to render this sort of mission infeasible," he said.
Essentially, that's only about 10 to 15 ships, he added.
If they did make it across the strait, the PLA would still need to find a decent landing spot for its ships.
China's military would be looking for a landing site both close to the mainland, and a strategic city, such as Taipei, with nearby port and airport facilities.
That leaves just 14 potential beaches, Easton said -- and it's not only the PLA that knows it. Taiwanese engineers have spent decades digging tunnels and bunkers in potential landing zones along the coast.

Furthermore, the backbone of Taiwan's defense is a fleet of vessels capable of launching anti-ship cruise missiles, on top of an array of ground-based missiles, and substantial mines and artillery on the coastline.
"Taiwan's entire national defense strategy, including its war plans, are specifically targeted at defeating a PLA invasion," Easton said.
Chinese troops could be dropped in from the air, but a lack of paratroopers in the PLA makes it unlikely.
If the PLA held a position on Taiwan, and could reinforce with troops from the mainland to face off about 150,000 Taiwan troops, as well as more than 2.5 million reservists, it would have to push through the island's western mud flats and mountains, with only narrow roads to assist them, towards Taipei.
Finally, the mobilization of amphibious landing vessels, ballistic missile launchers, fighters and bombers, as well as hundreds of thousands of troops, would give Taiwan plenty of advance warning of any attack, Kaushal said.
"It's extremely unlikely that the invasion could come as a bolt from the blue," Kaushal added.

Four US-made Apache attack helicopters launch missiles during the 35th "Han Kuang" military drill in southern Taiwan on May 30.

'The bad guy in the neighborhood'
There is, of course, one final deterrent to any PLA invasion of Taiwan.
It isn't clear whether or not such an attack by China would spark an intervention by the United States on Taipei's behalf.
Washington has been a longtime ally of the island, selling weapons to the Taiwan government and providing implicit military protection from Beijing.

Facing an aggressive Beijing, Taiwan's president issues a warning to the world

Easton said that, at present, the US would likely intervene in Taiwan's favor, both to protect investment by US companies on the island and reassure American allies in the region, who are also facing down a resurgent PLA in the East and South China seas.
Collin Koh Swee Lean, research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies' Maritime Security Program in Singapore, said there would also be "immense political consequences" from taking over Taiwan, in the event of a successful China invasion.
"It will likely mean that China will be seen as the bad guy in the neighborhood, who uses force," he said. "It will alienate some regional partners and the good will which China has been trying to build over the years will evaporate. And it will set China on a collision course with the US."
But Taipei isn't taking anything for granted.
On the sidelines of the massive Han Guang drills, Taiwan's Maj. Gen. Chen pointed out the hundreds of spectators who had come out to watch and support the island's military.
"These exercises let people know the national army of the Republic of China is ready," he said.
Taiwan is taking no chances.

CNN's Serenitie Wang contributed to this article.

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