In fact, last Sunday, ahead of the island’s national day, approximately one hundred fifty aircraft were seen overhead as a likely warning to Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen, who has been adamant that her country “will do whatever it takes to defend itself.”
Tsai has even penned an article published by Foreign Affairs in which she fears there would be “catastrophic consequences” if an all-out war were to break out between the two countries.
Taiwan “hopes for peaceful, stable, predictable, and mutually beneficial coexistence with its neighbors,” she said.
“But if its democracy and way of life are threatened, Taiwan will do whatever it takes to defend itself,” she continued.
Tsai added that other nations should “understand the value of working with Taiwan” and sounded the alarm that “if Taiwan were to fall, the consequences would be catastrophic for regional peace and the democratic alliance system.”
According to the Economist, a war between China and Taiwan would indeed be “a catastrophe”—chiefly because of the “bloodshed in Taiwan” but also the ramped up risk of “escalation between two nuclear powers” that are the United States and China.
“Beijing massively outguns Taiwan, with estimates from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute showing that China spends about twenty-five times more on its military,” The Week writes.
“However, Taiwan has a defense pact with the U.S. dating back to the 1954 Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, meaning the U.S. could, in theory, be drawn into the conflict,” it adds.
In another sign of escalation in the region, President Joe Biden’s administration has brushed off several warnings from China that demanded that it change its policy toward Taiwan. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has been quoted as saying that Washington needs to make genuine efforts to roll back what he termed the Donald Trump administration’s “dangerous practice” of overtly displaying support for Taiwan.
Attack on All Fronts
Should a war break out, according to Bloomberg, there will likely be “cyber and electronic warfare units target(ing) Taiwan’s financial system and key infrastructure, as well as U.S. satellites to reduce notice of impending ballistic missiles.”
“Chinese vessels could also harass ships around Taiwan, restricting vital supplies of fuel and food,” while “airstrikes would quickly aim to kill Taiwan’s top political and military leaders, while also immobilizing local defenses,” it continues.
Then there would be “thousands of paratroopers (who) would appear above Taiwan’s coastlines, looking to penetrate defenses (and) capture strategic buildings.”
If the United States decides to stay on the sidelines and does not intervene, the Economist noted that “China would overnight become the dominant power in Asia.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.