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Chinese seizure of Taiwan would be 'disastrous for US': Intel brief

If Taiwan falls, US would lose tech, credibility, weapons, deterrence, norms, intelligence, international standing

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People's Liberation Army forces conduct amphibious landing exercise. (People's Liberation Army photo)

People's Liberation Army forces conduct amphibious landing exercise. (People's Liberation Army photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A takeover of Taiwan by China would be "disastrous for the U.S.," while providing Beijing with greater military power, control of key sea lanes, confidence in further seizures, and access to key Taiwanese technology, according to an unclassified U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) report.

On Thursday (July 6), Air & Space Forces Magazine cited excerpts from a report that had been released in June under the signature of ONI Commander Rear Admiral Mike Studeman. The report said the U.S. and China are entwined in an "international struggle between competing visions," with China "executing a grand strategy" and Washington failing to hold Beijing accountable for its actions.

The report said Chinese military aircraft and naval vessels are increasingly harassing the militaries of Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, and the U.S. and making illegal incursions into the sea and airspace of other countries. It noted that Beijing has reneged on promises made under the Sino-British Joint Declaration for Hong Kong and speaks openly of its designs to "assimilate Taiwan by any means necessary."

The report predicted that if China successfully annexed Taiwan, many nations would begin deferring to China, and U.S. influence and credibility in the region would wane significantly. The U.S. would also lose a top 10 trading partner in Taiwan, deterrence would be further sapped, and it would be even harder for the U.S. to “forestall further erosion of international norms (and the) rules-based order.”

The U.S. would be perceived as being in decline and the last Chinese-speaking democracy in Asia would have fallen. “The survival of Taiwan’s democracy is a critical geostrategic issue that carries long-term consequences for China, the U.S., and the broader international community," the report said.

The report added that Beijing appears to be attempting to lay the groundwork for a successful annexation of Taiwan to coincide with the start of Chinese leader Xi Jinping's (習近平) fourth term in office in 2027. Steps China appears to be taking include isolating Taiwan, establishing "advantageous military conditions," and ratcheting up political, military, and economic pressure on Taiwan and its partner nations.