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October 26, 2021

October 26, 2021

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Taiwan’s Best Hope May Be Japan, Not Biden

by | Oct 9, 2021 |

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Not long ago, China’s President Xi Jinping said, when addressing a meeting in Paris to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations with France, “According to history, realizing the Chinese dream would bring opportunities rather than threats, peace rather than turmoil to the world. It will help the world make progress in various aspects.” Xi went on to say,” Napoleon Bonaparte once said that China ‘is a sleeping lion and when China wakes up, the world will shake.’ In fact, the lion of China has awoken, but what the world sees now is a peaceful, amiable, civilized lion.”

If only it were true. In fact, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules the country with an iron hand, is, in reality, guilty of genocide and slave labor, stealing trade secrets from the very people who come from abroad to make the country wealthy, polluting even the air they breathe despite all international efforts to clean the planet, creating a virus in a bioweapons lab and then spreading it around the world, destroying irreplaceable ecosystems in the Pacific Ocean, and leaving a trail of environmental destruction in every country it exploits for its natural resources and ports. The CCP is ambitious, greedy, destructive, brutal, deceitful, and power-hungry at the expense of everything they touch. Their crimes are crimes against humanity, hardly peaceful or amiable or even civilized.

The Battle over Taiwan

Xi says, “Taiwan’s fate is connected with the motherland,” and by that, he means that Taiwan is part of China, although the Taiwanese certainly don’t agree. But to all appearances, the CCP is preparing to bring the island nation into China by force. It has been carrying out massive sorties of fighter jets, including bombers capable of deploying nuclear weapons, into Taiwan’s airspace. Between October 1 and October 4, 145 Chinese air force planes violated Taiwan’s airspace. It was an act of pure malice, intended to warn, intimidate, and humiliate. But even though no shots were fired, what happened to Hong Kong in the past year is an example of what Taiwan may expect should China take it over.

And what will America do if – or rather when – this happens? 

An attack from China seems almost inevitable, and when it comes, it will be massive. Little Taiwan does not have the wherewithal to defend itself from such a massive force, although the Trump administration supported Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities with sales of $1.8 billion in weapons systems to improve its combat readiness. In theory, the Chinese would potentially suffer significant losses if they invaded Taiwan, although its massive air and sea power would be difficult for Taiwan to overcome.

Taiwan has only four destroyers and four submarines against China’s massive naval force, which has 50 destroyers and 79 submarines. In the air, Taiwan is defended by 288 fighter planes and 91 attack helicopters against China’s 902 fighter planes and 327 attack helicopters.

If Biden’s shameful retreat from Afghanistan is any clue, America will do little to counteract a major attack from China. The tiny country that we have pledged to protect is not likely to find that Biden’s America is ready or willing to defend it. 

Now Add Japan to the Mix

China has been testing the waters. However, the CCP might be wise to pay more attention to another, more powerful member of the community. Japan has promised to defend Taiwan. Its navy is highly advanced and maybe a force to be reckoned with when the attack comes. Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said that the security of Japan is directly linked with Taiwan, and Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso has talked about collective self-defense in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

From 1885 to 1945, Taiwan was a Japanese colony, until Japan surrendered to the Chinese after its loss in World War II. As a condition of its surrender in 1945, Japan could not have an ‘army’ and ‘air force’ or a ‘navy.’ Instead, Japan calls its military “Self Defense Forces.” In fact, the Japanese Constitution rejects using force to resolve international disputes. But in 2015, Japan enacted new laws relating to the military. The old laws were changed to allow them to use force if an attack on another country threatened Japan’s survival. The law also allows Japan to deploy its military forces in order to support foreign forces, should its national security be threatened. And Japan is getting ready.

Japanese Special Defense Forces file photo

Japan is currently converting its two largest helicopter carrier ships, the Izumo and its sister ship, Kaga, into aircraft carriers. Although these ships are too small to launch modern naval jets, the F-35B is a vertical/short take-off and landing (V/STOL) aircraft that they could easily accommodate. Japan has already ordered 42 F-35Bs. Japan also has at least 100 tactical nukes which could be deployed in the event of a Chinese attack. 

What Next?

Will China attack Taiwan? And will the joint US and Japanese forces, now plying the South China Sea, respond in a coordinated effort of military force? 

A Chinese attack on Taiwan would be consistent with China’s policy of expansion and insistence that Taiwan belongs to China. Xi Jinping made that clear in a speech he gave to Communist Party officials on October 9, when he said, No one should underestimate the Chinese people’s staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.”

And almost anything can ignite a confrontation with China that will lead to war, which they seem to want. For example: On Friday, October 8, a highly advanced and secretive nuclear-powered Seawolf-class submarine, the USS Connecticut, which was on maneuvers in the South China Sea, sustained damage when it hit what the press called an “unknown object.” However, intelligence sources reported that this “unknown object” was, in fact, a Chinese Type 093 submarine, one of their latest attack subs, operating in close proximity to the US sub. The Chinese sub, which was struck as it tried to outmaneuver the Connecticut, was identified by its sonar signature. 

While several American sailors suffered minor injuries in the collision and the USS Connecticut was forced to limp back to port in Guam, little is known so far about how much damage the Chinese submarine received. However, China issued a stiff condemnation over the US nuclear submarine operating in the South China Sea. Although China considers those waters to be within its sovereign territory, the rest of the world considers them international waters, and their presence there is a statement to China that they will not tolerate exclusion from them.  

Chinese submarines are known to troll these waters to track ships from the West, no doubt to both harass them, but also to acquire technical and logistical intelligence. According to a 2015 Office of Naval Intelligence report, China has as many as 57 diesel-electric and five nuclear attack submarines. 

Will China label this incident an act of war? Will it ignite a new confrontation between the US and China? Will it encourage China to attack Taiwan? What happens next depends on many factors, and at the moment, there are more questions than answers. What is certain is that this growing international problem will not go away anytime soon. And that China is determined, one way or another, to acquire the island nation of Taiwan and incorporate it into China, as it did with Hong Kong. The likelihood is that it will only take a small trigger to ignite a major conflagration in this part of the world – a war between liberty and tyranny.

Cover Image: Soldiers assemble for the Queshan – exercise. MIL.CNR.CN

Ilana Freedman

Ilana Freedman is a veteran intelligence analyst with more than thirty years in the field. She was trained in Israel, where she lived and worked for sixteen years. After returning to the U.S., she served as CEO of Gerard Group International in Massachusetts, providing major corporations and government agencies with intelligence-led support for their homeland security programs. Her global network of specialists and field assets has provided her with an ongoing resource of critical, real-time intelligence and domain expertise. Today, Ilana is an independent consultant and author of hundreds of articles on terrorism and the geopolitical landscape. She has written four books on Islamic terrorism, and is currently working on a comprehensive book on China - past, present, and future.

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