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Chinese invasion of Taiwan 'not easy' due to 3 weaknesses

MND says PLA lacks sufficient landing craft and logistics, must keep other enemies at bay

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PLA 73rd Group Army carrying out amphibious assault exercise. (Weibo photo)

PLA 73rd Group Army carrying out amphibious assault exercise. (Weibo photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of National Defense (MND) says that China's military will find it very difficult to invade Taiwan due to three key vulnerabilities.

In the MND's latest assessment, titled “Strengthening the military’s combat effectiveness in response to an all-out Chinese invasion of Taiwan in 2025," Deputy Minister of National Defense Wang Hsin-lung (王信龍) on Monday (Dec. 13) pointed out to lawmakers the details of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) plan of attack but also listed its notable weaknesses.

Wang said that the PLA's Rocket Force and Air Force will fire missiles that target Taiwan's air defenses, radar stations, and command posts. It will also try to paralyze Taiwan's main battle forces and key military installations with electromagnetic pulse attacks, send troops to Taiwan's southeast coast, and deploy ships in the Western Pacific to prevent other countries from intervening.

It will then attempt to execute rapid, joint landing operations across Taiwan proper with the use of amphibious landing ships, transport aircraft, and helicopters, in an attempt to seize the main island before external forces can intervene. However, Wang observed that the PLA has three major vulnerabilities.

First, he said that the PLA lacks sufficient landing equipment to transport enough troops at once to secure territory in Taiwan. Wang said that it will instead have to send the troops in multiple waves, diminishing their numerical advantage and exposing them to counter-attacks.

He added that the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) currently lacks sufficient roll-on, roll-off ships to deploy forces at ports and enough transport aircraft to land troops at airports. Wang emphasized that Taiwan's military will "strongly defend the ports and airports, and they will not be easy to occupy in a short period of time. Landing operations will face extremely high risks," reported UDN.

Second, Wang stated that the PLA's logistical support capabilities are limited. During landing operations, logistical supplies such as ammunition, food, and medicine will have to be transported across the treacherous Taiwan Strait by sea and air.

Wang said that Taiwan's forces will take advantage of the natural defensive features of the Taiwan Strait to carry out joint interception operations on Chinese supply ships, greatly impairing the combat power and continuity of the PLA landing forces.

Third, the minister argued that the PLA will not be able to bring its full force to bear on Taiwan because it will need to keep troops in reserve, as U.S. and Japanese bases are nearby. It will also need to keep more troops in reserve to prevent interventions of foreign armies in other areas, such as borders with India, Vietnam, and in the South China Sea.

Wang concluded that there will be no war in the Taiwan Strait for the rest of President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) term, which ends in 2024. Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) on Oct. 6 estimated that China will have the ability to launch a "full-scale invasion" by 2025.


Updated : 2022-05-26 20:30 GMT+08:00