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The Nightmare Scenario: The PLA Invasion Threat & Taiwan’s Response

October 31, 2018 @ 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

1:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Conference Center, Choate Room

1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Choate Room

1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 200


Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC, China) in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has made no secret of its intention to subjugate the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan), including by force if perceived as necessary and worth the cost. Potentially supporting the CCP’s “China Dream,” a capacity to physically occupy Taiwan through amphibious invasion appears to be an “historic mission.” As the armed wing of the party, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has long been capable of physically occupying Taiwan, barring U.S. intervention and willingness to bear exorbitant political and military costs. However, long-term, targeted investments into PLA force modernization, deepening of its military reform and reorganization program, and growing obsolesce of Taiwan’s ground force equipment, increase the likelihood of an amphibious invasion. The CCP and its Central Military Commission (CMC) oversee an increasingly dangerous PLA. Its capacity for use of force has developed rapidly, driven in large part by the desire to subordinate Taiwan to the Chinese Communist Party. Alongside airpower and naval forces, the ROC Army and Marines play integral roles in deterrence and defense of the island. However, in a minimum warning invasion scenario, ground forces may be the last barrier standing between deterrence and potential national annihilation.

This conference will bring together a distinguished group of experts to assess PLA force modernization, reform, and reorganization, address the role of Taiwan’s ground forces in a worst-case invasion scenario, and explore implications for U.S. policy. The panelists will evaluate evolving PLA capabilities relevant to a Taiwan invasion scenario, assess the role of Taiwan’s ground forces, and discuss potential areas for further U.S.-Taiwan security cooperation.



1:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Opening Remarks

The Honorable Richard L. Armitage
Project 2049 Institute

Keynote Address

Admiral Richard Chen
Former Vice Minister
Republic of China Ministry of National Defense 
Former Chief of Naval Operations

Republic of China Navy

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Panel 1: The PLA Threat

Rick Fisher
Senior Fellow on Asian Military Affairs
International Assessment and Strategy Center

Scott Harold
Associate Director, Center for Asia Pacific Policy; Political Scientist
RAND Corporation

Mark Stokes
Executive Director
Project 2049 Institute

Moderator: Kristen Gunness
Chief Executive Officer
Vantage Point Asia

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Panel 2: Taiwan’s Response to the PLA

Jim Thomas
Telemus Group

General Wallace “Chip” Gregson Jr.
Senior Advisor
Avascent Global Advisors

Fu S. Mei
Taiwan Security Analysis Center

David An
Senior Research Fellow
Global Taiwan Institute

Moderator: Rachael Burton
Deputy Director
Project 2049 Institute

RSVP via the Eventbrite link below.

This event will stream live.
Follow @Project2049 and #P2049Live for more analysis.


The Project 2049 Institute