Military balance across Taiwan Strait slipping toward China: White paper

Development of Chinese landing ships significantly enhancing invasion capability

The 2020 'Defense of Japan' white paper

The 2020 'Defense of Japan' white paper (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The 2020 "Defense of Japan" white paper states that the balance of military strength across the Taiwan Strait has further tipped in favor of China, and the gap is widening every year.

The paper notes that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) won the election in January with the most votes in Taiwan's history. President Tsai has reaffirmed that Taiwan refuses to accept "one country, two systems," while China has repeatedly stated its anti-Taiwan independence position and willingness to invade the island nation.

Regarding the military capabilities of the two countries, the white paper says that China's army has an overwhelming force advantage but only limited ability to invade Taiwan. Despite this, the paper points out that China has been building large landing ships in recent years, greatly enhancing its invasion capabilities.

In terms of naval and airpower, China not only has an overwhelming number of assets but in recent years has also eclipsed Taiwan's advantage in quality. However, Taiwan has dedicated itself to building up asymmetric warfare assets, such as stealth corvettes, and the U.S. has continued to ramp up its military sales to the country.

The paper indicates that Taiwan has upgraded its PAC-2 surface-to-air missiles (SAM) to PAC-3s and introduced new PAC-3 SAMs as well. However, China has a great number of short-range missiles that can reach Taiwan, and it is generally believed that Taiwan lacks effective countermeasures in this regard.

The white paper concludes that in terms of the military power balance across the Taiwan Strait, the trend favors China, and the gap is widening every year. The paper points out that it is worth paying attention to the relative developments in military capabilities between the two neighbors, U.S. military sales to Taiwan, and the continuation of Taiwan's indigenous arms production.

(Japan Ministry of Defense photo)