U.S. think tank describes Chinese attack plan against Taiwan

Plan could include cyber attack and assassinations in U.S.

China's Navy active overseas.

China's Navy active overseas. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A study from a leading United States think tank describes how China could approach and plan for a potential invasion of Taiwan, reports said Thursday.

In “Coping with Surprise in Great Power Conflicts” for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Mark Cancian, a retired Marine Corps colonel, describes how wars can erupt by surprise and disrupt the best plans.

The report often refers to Russia and China, mentioning Chinese attacks on Taiwan and Vietnam as possible surprise conflicts.

In contrast to a popular view, Cancian is not certain that the U.S. will be fast enough to come to Taiwan’s aid.

“China launches surprise attack on Taiwan to forestall a possible declaration of independence. PLA forces establish A2/AD bubble around island but do not attack U.S. forces in Pacific. Most U.S. allies call for negotiations and declare neutrality. U.S. decides not to launch counteroffensive in such unfavorable circumstances,” Cancian concludes.

The buzzword A2/AD stands for “Anti-Access Area Denial,” with geographical “bubbles” where one nation concentrates sophisticated military equipment such as anti-air missiles to prevent a rival army from taking action and deploying troops.

Cancian also describes how China could pave the way for an attack on Taiwan by sowing chaos in its major ally, the U.S.

Beijing would use an “Assassin’s Mace,” a large-scale cyber attack, to disrupt and distract the U.S.

“Lost bank accounts, false rumors, and fake videos alarm and distract military personnel at all levels just before a Chinese attack on Taiwan,” he writes.

Another method China could use would be outright violence. “In response to a perceived loss of legitimacy by U.S. moves on Taiwan, the Chinese attempt to decapitate U.S. political leadership through assassinations prior to an invasion of Taiwan.”