China preps Navy for Taiwan invasion – The Telegraph

Chinese warship
Chinese warship

Despite lack of landing ships in People’s Liberation Army (PLA) necessary for invasion, it can fill this gap with civilian vessels, dozens of giant ferries, each of which can carry hundreds of armored vehicles, The Telegraph reported on May 26.

“Landing under fire is one of the most difficult military maneuvers,” said Ray Powell, director of the Stanford University project SeaLight, which studies activities in South China Sea gray zone.

According to him, civilian ferries are “not usually suited for such a mission,” but could be used to transport troops en masse across the Taiwan Strait after its coastal defenses are destroyed, or to overwhelm island’s military with “large masses.”

According to The Telegraph, China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has vowed to take control of the island, possibly by force. U.S. intelligence believes that Xi Jinping ordered PLA to be ready to seize the island by 2027.

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Taiwan’s armed forces are much smaller than China’s, but they are protected by mountainous terrain and 110-mile Taiwan Strait.

Chinese Navy already has world’s largest surface fleet and has built dozens of dual-purpose ships capable of operating in both peacetime and wartime.

In 2022, Tom Shugart, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security, estimated that China’s civilian ships could dramatically increase tonnage of military cargo that military landing craft can carry. This will allow them to transport about 300,000 troops and equipment across Taiwan Strait in about 10 days.

“Both Taiwanese and U.S. intelligence should begin to monitor China’s key civilian vessels in the same way they monitor its naval vessels,” he wrote at the time.

It is noted that although the idea of converting passenger ferries for use in a conflict zone may seem unusual, it reflects extent to which China’s private sector is linked to ruling Communist Party and military policy of government in Beijing.

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According to analysts, it also makes defense planning much more difficult.

“The civilian ferries are part of a broader Chinese concept of civil-military fusion, in which civilian assets and capabilities are an integral part of the nation’s national security efforts,” said Alessio Patalano, professor of East Asian war and strategy at the Department of Military Studies at King’s College London.

He added that while it is difficult to say whether the passenger ferry movements are part of war preparations, China’s broader intentions are “clear.”

Escalation between China and Taiwan

Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Dec. 27 said that China’s “reunification” with Taiwan is “inevitable.” He added that “this is the main national interest, and this is what the people want,” and in his New Year’s address to the nation, he said that China “will undoubtedly reunite.”

Tensions over Taiwan became one of the topics of conversation at meeting between US and Chinese leaders Joe Biden and Xi Jinping on Nov. 15.

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Then, according to CNN, Xi Jinping told Biden that United States must “take real action to fulfill its commitment not to support ‘Taiwan independence.”

He also called on United States to stop arming Taiwan and support “peaceful reunification” of China.

Taiwanese Ministry of Defense on Jan. 6 accused China of threatening aviation safety and waging psychological warfare against island’s population by launching balloons a few days before election.

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Head of US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral John Aquilino, on March 20 said that China is building up its military and nuclear arsenals on a record scale since World War II, preparing to invade Taiwan by 2027.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on March 29 said that US assistance to Ukraine is crucial to deterring China, as a Russian victory could encourage Beijing to aggress against Taiwan and promote anti-American propaganda.

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