While Europe is preoccupied with Corona, we just face a new Taiwan crisis. The PLA and the US are deploying more and more military and we have to see if this time s a confrontation can be prevented and it remains rabber-sabbling. However the power balance has shifted and iit is not a question if China will try to invade Taiwan, but when and its more about the timing, the tactics than about the goal. Today´s Global Times:
“PLA prepared as US, secessionists provoke
Drills show capability, not just warning; island stands no chance of winning
By Liu Xuanzun Published: Apr 08, 2021
Multiple branches of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are continuing large-scale military exercises near the island of Taiwan, at a time when Taiwan secessionists insisted on making provocative statements and holding drills, and the US sent a warship through the Taiwan Straits on Wednesday and voiced support to „Taiwan independence“ forces, even as the PLA was exercising around the island with an aircraft carrier task group and warplanes.
Taiwan secessionists and the US are leaving the Chinese mainland and the PLA with no choice but to enhance war preparedness in case of „Taiwan secessionism,“ analysts said on Thursday.
Some 15 PLA aircraft, namely eight J-10 and four J-16 fighter jets, a Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft and two KJ-500 early warning aircraft entered Taiwan’s self-proclaimed southwest air defense identification zone on Wednesday, the defense department of Taiwan authorities said on Wednesday.
A combined arms battalion affiliated with the PLA 73rd Group Army has been holding a series of amphibious landing exercises in recent days in waters off the southern part of East China’s Fujian Province, with several types of amphibious armored vehicles participating in beach assault drills, China Central Television reported on Wednesday.
Taking the ongoing drills by the Liaoning aircraft carrier task group, the PLA Army, Navy and Air Force are conducting exercises near the island of Taiwan, observers said.
The PLA exercises come as Taiwan secessionists and the US are ramping up the rhetoric to provoke the Chinese mainland on the Taiwan question, which analysts said increases the risk of conflict.
Taiwan would fight to the end if the Chinese mainland attacks, and the US can see a danger that this could happen amid mounting PLA pressure, including aircraft carrier drills near the island, claimed the head of the external affairs department of Taiwan authorities, Joseph Wu, on Wednesday, Taipei News reported on Thursday.
In a separate event, the defense department of Taiwan authorities announced it would run eight days of computer-aided war games simulating a PLA attack this month, and live-fire drills in July, forming the two phases of Taiwan’s largest annual Han Kuang war games, the report said.
Citing another Taiwan official, Reuters reported Wednesday that Taiwan may shoot down Chinese mainland drones near the Dongsha Islands in the South China Sea.
Song Zhongping, a Chinese mainland military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Thursday that many officials in Taiwan, like Wu, are laymen who do not understand the military, while others who do understand the enormous power gap between the island’s military and the PLA are lying and talking big to deceive people on the island, trying to show the money they used in arms purchase is worth it.
Another military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities are seeking secession at the cost of ordinary people in Taiwan by tying them onto the chariot of the „Taiwan independence“ forces and dashing to a war that they cannot win.
The PLA exercises are not only warnings, but also show real capabilities and pragmatically practicing reunifying the island if it comes to that, the analyst said. „The island’s military won’t stand a chance.“
The US on Wednesday sent the USS John S. McCain destroyer through the Taiwan Straits, which was tracked and monitored by the PLA Eastern Theater Command, Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, the command spokesperson, said in a statement on the day.
The US move sent a wrong signal to „Taiwan independence“ forces, Zhang said, noting that the command troops will stay on high vigilance to deal with any provocation.
The US Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group also entered the South China Sea on Thursday, Beijing-based think tank the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative said on Thursday.
Taiwan secessionists‘ hype of PLA threats is crying for help from countries like the US and Japan, since they know they are powerless and want to make the Taiwan question an international one, Shi Hong, Executive Chief Editor of the Chinese mainland magazine, Shipborne Weapons, told the Global Times.
PLA’s exercises from all directions of the island showed that mainland forces can isolate the island’s troops and cut off foreign intervention, and the US will not be able to come to Taiwan secessionists‘ aid if a situation arises, Shi said.
The reason behind the tensions and large-scale PLA exercises around Taiwan is the collusion of Taiwan secessionists and the US, which has been challenging the one-China principle, Song said. „It is the US and DPP authorities that have been changing the cross-Straits status quo, and the PLA had to respond.“
In extreme circumstance when Taiwan secessionists act to trigger the secessionism button, a large-scale confrontation or even war could break out, and such situation is to be forcefully imposed on the people on both sides of the Straits by the US and Taiwan secessionists, Song said, noting that that is why the PLA must effectively deter them and maintain peace.“
Hard to know what China wants to achieve. That the DDP retreats and the KMt comes in power again, that the DDP and the US back down and are “deterred”? There is no concrete demand. It seems more than a test-rum for the future of a coming war about Taiwan, as the Global Times also claims that the power balance has shifted to the decisive advantage of China compared with the former Tawian crisis and it doesn´t matter what the DDP does:
Taiwan authorities panic from their radical policies: Global Times editorial
By Global Times Published: Apr 08, 2021
Joseph Wu Jaushieh, the island of Taiwan’s leader of external affairs, said on Wednesday that the Chinese mainland’s military threat to the island is increasing, and that US policymakers „clearly see the danger of the possibility of China launching an attack against Taiwan.“ He also said that the island would fight to the very last day if attacked by the Chinese mainland.
This was a rare statement of Taiwan authorities in the face of the risk of reunification by force. Apparently, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities have seen that they have pushed the cross-Straits situation into a dead end, with political and military antagonism spiraling upward. As they have destroyed the political preconditions for an ease of the situation, they have begun to fear the eventual breakout of a war.
The majority of people are willing to see the Taiwan Straits enjoy peace with both sides of the Straits jointly discussing the peaceful reunification. But there are two premises. First, island authorities must accept the one-China principle and make policies promoting cross-Straits integration rather than division. Second, they should keep a distance from US strategies to contain China, refraining from acting as a pawn.
However, the DPP has ruined both preconditions. Regional leader Tsai Ing-wen has refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus and the one-China principle. Tsai has thus put an end to the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and brought the island to a dangerous route to confront the Chinese mainland. To secure their extreme policies, the DPP authorities have made mistakes repeatedly by cozying up to US‘ campaign to pressure the Chinese mainland. In this way, the DPP has tried to prove its indispensable value to US strategy in exchange for Washington’s determination to „defend“ the island.
This is a crazy road of no return. The Chinese mainland is growing stronger and more prosperous. How could the 1.4 billion Chinese people allow Taiwan to be separated from China in such a blatant way? What can be used for Taiwan to seek „independence?“ The US in recent years mapped out its strategy to contain China and has played the „Taiwan card.“ The island of Taiwan, pleasing the US at the expense of its own interests, has rushed to build itself a frontline of the US‘ vicious China policy. How could there be such a mindless and stupid political team on the island?
If the DPP authorities continue their radical road and refuse to pull back before it’s too late, they are doomed to be rooted out. It’s only a matter of when and how.
Wu, to a large extent, was meant to make himself heard by the US and Japan, especially those radical anti-China forces in Washington, in an attempt to demand that they deter the mainland with greater efforts. However, the Taiwan authorities are too narrow-minded to figure out the general situation of China-US strategic competition. They tend to look up at the US, thus believing the mainland is in awe of Washington as they are. They are desperately silly.
The present-day China is different from what it was several decades ago. The balance of military power in the Taiwan Straits has fundamentally changed. The situation of China-US competition is also changing. In the past, the possibility of the US military intervening in a war in the Taiwan Straits could generate pressure on the mainland. But today, no matter how the US declares its determination to „defend Taiwan,“ it can no longer frighten the mainland. Peaceful unification is the mainland’s goodwill. It’s not a choice being forced to make under threat.
We despise those commitments the US has made to the island. We also believe our will to crack down on secessionists far outweighs Washington’s will to „defend Taiwan.“ In extreme circumstance, our will to engage in a full-scale confrontation across the Taiwan Straits without hesitation will also be far greater than that of the US.
At the same time, we look down on Tsai authorities‘ clamor on „fight to the end.“ It is believed that Taiwan people will not support their authorities‘ radical policies that have no bottom line, nor are they willing to become cannon fodder. No one will help the DPP authorities in fighting to „the very last day.“
Therefore, we offer the DPP authorities a piece of advice – facing the reality, making fundamental adjustments on its ruling policies, stepping out of the blind alley by themselves.
If they insist on taking chances and continue to be evil, and they will lose both time and opportunities, until a severe stalemate makes the situation uncontrollable. In the end, they will be condemned by history, and severely punished by the law of the People’s Republic of China.”
Therefore we come to another decisive question which is more actual than ever and which we already aired during the Trump administration in an article on Global Review and on the website of the think tank of the Russian foreign ministery Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC).
How would Germany and Russia position themselves in the event of a Sino-American war?
April 29, 2020
One can agree with Carl Schmidt, namely to rethink things for the state of emergency and also to prepare mentally for worst case scenarios. An important question that comes to my mind again and again is how Germany will position itself in the event of a Sino-American war – itself and within the EU, especially since it is quite possible that Rumsfeld polarization will re-establish itself in old and new Europe. So far, this question has only been asked once, namely in an 8-page publication by the German Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP)/ Science and Politics Foundation, but more than a short question and without any answers and only in the event of a limited conflict in the South China Sea, which would not escalate in a Sino-American war.
At the beginning of the Corona crisis, Trump-USA and China are as global exceptions kickstarting their economies despite losses of human deaths in order to get in a pole and winning position for the geopolitical struggle for a new world order. Trump already blames China for Covid and wants to hold it responsible for economic and human losses as the propaganda for his America First policy. While many observers think that the geopolitical struggle will be softened and dampened by the Covid crisis, the opposite is also possible. That Trump after he would be reelected will escalate the Sino-American power struggle for the No.1 world power position., even to war, be it the Airsea Battle scenario or TX Hammes Offshore Control. While the death tolls are exploding in the USA, China is sending a aircraft carrier group through the Taiwan Straits to the South Chinese Sea, while the US sends its nays with some allies. At the same time, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards warn US ships to cross their area and The USA warns Iran and also criticizes the start of an Iranian military satellite. The EU is now starting its more symbolic navy mission Irini for Libya while the proxy war there between France, Italy, Russia, Turkey, the Gulf States, Saudiarabia and Qatar is escalating at the moment. The Islamists are starting attacks and offensives in Libya and Africa despite or because of Covid. There are now enough powers who want to make use of the Covid crisis and weak governments. Means: The geopolitical struggle for world dominance hasn´t ended with Covid.
On the one hand, one should see that Trump tried a lot to win Putin over to him. The fact that Trump was negotiating directly with Maduro, that the democratic opposition and Guaido were left outside, shows that he also wanted to use a deal in Venezuela as an opener for a deal with Putin. Hence, logically, his insistence that Putin should be included in the G7 again. Although US-Russian relations are currently facing a new arms race following the termination of the INF treaty, it should be seen that the termination of the treaty should also give the United States the opportunity to arm medium-range weapons against China in the Pacific. Despite current moods between the United States and Russia, Trump still seems to hope to get Russia on his side or neutral in the upcoming conflicts with Iran and China. There are actually only two possible options for Russia: Go to war against the USA together with China, maybe even using the US focus on the Pacific for changes in Europe or staying neutral and being the laughing third party. But very unlikely that Putin will go with the USA to war against China.
An interesting detail is that Trump canceled the NATO drill Defender 2020 against Russia, while he keeps up the combativeness of the US military against China and Iran. NATO canceled the drill, Spain was calling for NATO´s support in the Corona crisis management, NATO declared that it would engage in the fight against pandemics, but nothing happened. The European governments were relying on their national states, resources and their own national military. Is NATO paralyzed? However, if it is to Corona or the political decision of Trump not to continue the Defender 2020 drills against Russia, this could also be seen as a signal to Russia that we don´t want to offend you, but are self employed and that the backbone of the US military won´t engage against Putin-Russia, but against China and Iran. As Professor Rahr correctly described, Trump essentially only wants bilateral alliances with some core countries that he considers important, and the EU and Germany as well as China and Iran are equally opponents. Especially since you also have to see that Germany and the EU have very close economic and political contacts with China, which he considers harmful to the USA. Germany only would have three theoretical options in an emergency:
1) Go to war against China with the United States, which would not happen militarily, but more politically, diplomatically and economically, or perhaps more than more burdensharing in the area of the Greater Middle East and Europe, as Trump has already done Syria and in arms spending and NATO.
2) Neutrality. maybe in the senes of a strategic balancing – the question is to what extent this would be accepted or not sanctioned by the United States, Russia and China
3) Going to war against the United States – totally unthinkable at the moment.
Therefore, only the first two options remain, especially since Germany also has to try to assert its position in the EU and coordinate with the allies, which could also trigger a number of differences within the EU. It is unlikely that the EU will speak with one voice in this case. Whatever is astonishing, how ignorant some academics are about the question of a Sino-American war: on the one hand, they categorically exclude the possibility, on the other hand, they are of the opinion that this remains a local war, and they still have the traditional Cold War image of war in their brains when there were only conventional and nuclear weapons, the new theaters of space and cyberspace are not yet in their heads, nor the US studies of the CSBA Rethinking Armaggeddon and The Second Nuclear Age, in which the difference to the first nuclear age of the Cold War is described as unstable in view of the new multipolarity, economic interdependencies and new weapon technologies. The fact that Beijing can blind or destroy European communication and navigation satellites, such as the Gallileo system or by means of cyberattacks, can blackout entire European cities or paralyze critical infrastructures. They think Asia is far away and that does not concern us, especially since some fools think that Germany in the event of such a conflict, could even be the laughing third party, not to mention the economic and human losses.