China’s capability to invade Taiwan analyzed in US defense report

US to continue arms sales to Taiwan in light of China’s militant posturing

China continues to enhance its military capabilities. 

China continues to enhance its military capabilities.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) on Wednesday (Sept. 2) published the unclassified "2020 China Military Power Report" and warned of Beijing's capability to take over Taiwan through military force.

An authoritative assessment of China's military and security development, the comprehensive 200-page report highlights Beijing's determination to occupy Taiwan through any means necessary. It also addresses potential concerns over the military imbalance in the Taiwan Strait, observing that China's national defense budget is roughly 15 times that of Taiwan's.

The report notes that China perceives Taiwan as one of the most prominent threats to its national identity and that it has not renounced the use of military force to pursue unification. Despite Beijing's stated preference for a more peaceful approach, its military has a range of options with which to threaten the country, "from an air and maritime blockade to a full-scale amphibious invasion."

According to the report, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been enhancing its readiness for an invasion but hesitates to carry it out due to potential international intervention. It says Chinese armed forces would likely be strained if they decided to launch an amphibious attack against Taiwan.

However, based on DOD analysis, the PLA is already capable of conducting smaller military operations to seize Taiwan's offshore islands. By doing so, it could make territorial gains while showing off its military strength with some restraint.

Taiwan, on the other hand, is expected to rely on its geographic advantages and technological superiority for defense. Having recognized the growing disparity between the military budgets on either side of the strait, the Taiwanese government has begun developing asymmetric warfare capabilities.

The DOD believes it is important for the U.S. to continue its arms sales to Taiwan to stave off Chinese military actions, in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act. The U.S. frequently expresses opposition to Beijing's attempts to alter the status quo.

China's missile coverage. (U.S. Department of Defense photo)

(U.S. Department of Defense photo)

(U.S. Department of Defense photo)