TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – After a Chinese military newspaper published an editorial attacking a culture of “peace disease” at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), speculation has been mounting again that China might try to attack Taiwan in 2020.
The PLA Daily said Monday that the decades without a war since clashes with Vietnam in the late 1970s was threatening to undermine the Chinese military’s fighting capabilities.
The editorial said a pervasive “peace disease” would make China pay a heavy cost in the event of a war.
The most likely scene for a war would be Taiwan, which China has been threatening to annex with force for decades. The piece in the official military newspaper also rekindled earlier reports that China might seek to attack Taiwan in 2020, cable station Sanlih E-Television reported Thursday.
Two key factors for such a decision would be China’s ability to act quickly and seize opportunities once a conflict broke out, and to prevent the United States from gaining the upper hand, the report said.
Richard Weitz of the Hudson Institute commented on the editorial that the most likely location for a new war by China would be Taiwan or the South China Sea, given their proximity to the mainland and their distance from U.S. bases.
In a report last February, the Rand Corporation think tank said the military balance across the Taiwan Strait was moving in China’s favor, increasing the likelihood of success for any Chinese move on Taiwan.
Both Taiwan and the U.S. needed to pay more attention to the island nation’s military needs to face down the rapid expansion and modernization of the PLA, Sanlih reported.