By: Ian Easton and Dee Wu |
Taiwan has a big problem. In 2016, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) began a sweeping reorganization of its military with the aim of creating a joint force capable of fighting and winning future wars. Of all the operations envisioned by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the most heavily emphasized is the Joint Island Attack Campaign, which is code for the invasion of Taiwan.
The threat was recently brought into stark relief across the Republic of China (ROC), the official name of Taiwan’s government. In May, the ROC military mobilized for war games to test the island’s anti-invasion strategy, holding the annual Han Kuang exercises, a series of defense drills used to simulate what might happen if China launched an all-out war of aggression against Taiwan. As is typically the case, the 2017 iteration of Han Kuang involved computer-aided command post simulations, civil defense drills, field training exercises, emergency reserve force mobilization, and live-fire drills.
Sleepy suburban neighborhoods and small towns across Taiwan were alerted of the events by the wail of air raid sirens, the distant rumble of tanks, the scream of fighter jets, and the crunching impacts of gun batteries. Thousands of men, who normally would have put on business suits before going to work in office buildings, instead donned camouflage fatigues and went to work stringing razor wire, emplacing beach obstacles, and manning machine guns along the coast.
To continue reading this article, please visit the original publication in The Diplomat (June 15, 2017).
Ian Easton is a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute and author of the forthcoming book, The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia. Dee Wu is an intern at the Project 2049 Institute and graduate student at Georgetown University.