Chinese military ‘could seize Taiwan’s government buildings’

China makes clear its ability to blockade Taiwan by sea and air. He also openly practices troop and tank rushes on sandy beaches. But is it all a trick?

The idea of ​​what an invasion looks like was firmly established by operations in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Pacific Ocean during World War II.

A large number of soldiers and tanks are assembled and loaded onto ships. These are followed by a massive strike force of aircraft carriers, warships and strike aircraft before dropping their cargo on distant shores.

But some strategic analysts warn that any invasion of Taiwan could be over long before its allies can respond to help.

Taiwan’s rugged coastal terrain makes such a scenario impractical, says Dmitri Alperovitch, head of the US think tank and author of geopolitics.

Instead, he argues, China’s opening moves would more likely mirror those of Russia in the early days of its invasion of Ukraine.

As the first shots rang out to take Kiev’s main airport, a large force of Spetsnaz and paratroopers rushed across the border in low-flying helicopters. Their objective was to secure it for a further mass of troops to attack the seat of government in the capital.

Only the advance warning of the US gave the Ukrainian troops enough time to render the Antonov airfield unusable and launch a vigorous counterattack.

Evidence that Beijing has long been planning a similar “lightning” strike on Taiwan’s government and command network may be hidden in plain sight.

A model of Taiwan’s presidential palace was built on a remote desert military training ground. There is also a replica of the streetscape around Taipei’s Parliament House and executive government centers.

These would likely be targeted by pre-positioned agents and a swift helicopter attack.

At the same time, precision attacks and special forces would be aimed at securing the island nation’s key ports. A reinforcement of Marines would then likely rush upriver through the heart of Taipei to help secure the Government District.

“All of this can literally happen in the first 30 minutes of action,” warns Alperovitch.

The heat is on

“Lai Ching-te is the first leader of the Taiwan region to be surrounded by the PLA as a warning when taking office,” says the state Global Times propagandist Hu Xijin. “Figuratively speaking, this military exercise is similar to the arrogant statements of the newly appointed Lai authorities, and then the mainland army directly seizes him and puts him in a birdcage.”

China has been conducting intensive military exercises across the island nation since the May 20 inauguration of its new democratically elected president (William) Lai Ching-te.

Dubbed Joint Sword 2024A, the exercise involved significant elements of the People’s Liberation Army, Navy, Air Force and Missile Forces.

“It is also a strong punishment for separatist ‘Taiwan independence’ forces seeking independence and a serious warning to outside powers for interference and provocation,” China’s Eastern Command spokesman Col. Li Xi told local media.

It was a message reinforced by a division in Beijing set up specifically to fight Taiwan.

“As long as provocations for ‘Taiwan independence’ continue, the People’s Liberation Army’s actions to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity will not stop,” Taiwan State Council Office spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian said on Wednesday.

However, similar exercises on the fringes of Taiwan’s territories have been carried out in increasing numbers over the past few years.

“It’s clear that the operational tempo of these exercises has changed and accelerated to the point that many of these exercises are now being conducted on the eastern side of the island,” said Republican Congressman Andy Barr, co-chairman of the Taiwan Caucus. told US media on Thursday.

“Obviously this is a trial run or exercise to encircle or blockade the island.”

Carefully choreographed exercises are repeated.

Some believe they may be designed to give the wrong impression of Beijing’s plans.

The best laid plans…

Most Western “war game” scenarios assume that a Chinese air and naval blockade and mass mobilization before a D-Day-style landing would give the US, Japan and other Taiwanese allies time to respond.

But Alperovitch warns that removing Taiwan’s executive government in the early hours of the war would cause the US to pause. There would be no leader – such as Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy – to rally the Taiwanese troops and strengthen the spirit of resistance among the population.

And such a sudden attack would only require China’s specialized fleet of attack ships, he explains.

“Each of them can deliver about 800 troops and, more importantly, dozens of transport helicopters and battleships to carry out airstrikes. They can get to the two (main) airports in 10 to 15 minutes,” explains Alperovitch.

Only then will Beijing have to activate its vast fleet of civilian ferries – designed and built to military specifications to transport main battle tanks. These can provide the main occupation force through Taiwan’s commercial roll-on and roll-off port infrastructure.

“You will have these transport ships, mostly civilian vessels, loaded with hundreds of thousands of troops, armored vehicles, tanks and the logistics you need to take an island of 23 million people,” he told US media. a week.

And if Taiwan’s ability to mount an organized resistance collapses in the hours – or days – before an attack, its allies will be considering the price of retaking the island from China.

“You will lose ships. You’re going to lose a lot of sailors—thousands, potentially tens of thousands of American troops out there,” warns Alperovitch.

Jamie Seidel is a freelance writer | @JamieSeidel

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