Chinese threats will escalate: Taiwan military think tank

China's joint warfare capabilities need monitoring

A Chinese-controlled reef in the South China Sea.

A Chinese-controlled reef in the South China Sea. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Following Chinese Navy maneuvers in the South China Sea this month, military threats will only increase during the months ahead, Taiwan’s top military think tank said Tuesday (August 13).

With presidential and legislative elections scheduled for January 11, 2020, China is widely expected to repeat past practice of trying to intimidate Taiwanese voters into casting their ballots for pro-independence candidates.

Beijing’s use of a mix of military threats and vocal propaganda with fake news was only likely to grow more intensive in the run-up to the elections, according to a report in the magazine of the Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR, 國防安全研究院), a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of National Defense.

China never revealed details about the recent military drills, which took place completely on the ocean without involvement of the Chinese mainland, the Liberty Times reported.

The Chinese media made several assumptions which later turned out to be wrong or were not confirmed by the authorities, such as the suggestion that the exercises were aimed at blockading Southern Taiwan from the outside world.

There were also varying interpretations as to the timing of the drills, with one side arguing that they were a response to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) recent stopovers in the United States during a Caribbean tour and to decisions by the United States to sell more arms to Taiwan.

However, others said that China organized maneuvers in the South China Sea on a yearly basis, and that the latest round might not have been linked to Taiwanese developments.

The institute’s report said Taiwan needed to keep a close eye on the progress made by the Chinese military in managing coordination during joint exercises between its different departments, the Liberty Times reported.