People's Liberation Army

In this file photo taken on 31 January 2018, Taiwanese sailors salute the island's flag on the deck of the Panshih supply ship after taking part in annual drills, at the Tsoying naval base in Kaohsiung. (Mandy Cheng/AFP)

Will China take Taiwan by force within six years? Taiwanese think not and experts are worried

At a recent US senate hearing, Admiral Philip Davidson, commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, assessed US capabilities in the Indo-Pacific, adding that Beijing may invade Taiwan in the next six years. Zaobao correspondent Woon Wei Jong speaks to Taiwan academics about the issue.
This handout file photo taken and released by the Indian Navy on 18 November 2020 shows Indian army fighter jets on the deck on an aircraft carrier during the second phase of the 2020 Malabar naval exercise in the Arabian sea involving India, Australia, Japan and the US (the Quad). (Indian Navy/AFP)

South China Sea: The new frontier of Sino-Indian tussle in the Himalayas?

India’s step to send a warship to the South China Sea (SCS) following the clash in the Galwan Valley in the middle of last year proved a point — that it is prepared to link security in the Himalayas to the SCS, which it had erstwhile regarded as a secondary area of interest. Will China bristle at India’s continued quest for leverage and will chances of an accidental escalation in the SCS be raised overall?
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks to Defense Department personnel during a visit to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, US, 10 February 2021. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Why Biden will continue the trade war with China to the ‘end’

The China-US trade war looks set to continue under the new Biden administration, says economics professor Zhu Ying. Whether in terms of preventing technology transfer that could have military applications or seeking to enforce "structural changes” in China’s economy for fairer competition, the US will seek leverage through the trade war. Are we heading for a stalemate if the US wants to see a China that is playing by global rules, but the Chinese insist on pursuing an economic model with Chinese characteristics?
This photo taken on 4 January 2021 shows Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers assembling during military training at Pamir Mountains in Kashgar, northwestern China's Xinjiang region. (STR/AFP)

Japanese academic: China needs to show more self-restraint in PLA's military activities

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has ramped up its military activities in the South China Sea, East China Sea and around the island of Taiwan in the year 2020. Japanese academic Sugiura Yasuyuki believes that such actions will continue to escalate this coming year. He thinks China needs to exercise some restraint to avoid destabilising the status quo in the East Asia region.
A soldier wearing a face mask gestures outside the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Will Beijing roll out a 'national reunification law' targeting Taiwan?

A poster released by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council and a question by a Xinhua reporter sparked speculations of a possible “national reunification law”. Will Beijing roll out such a law targeting Taiwan, and would it set a timeline for “military reunification”? Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong examines the issue.
Military personnel stand in formation next to a portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping (back) outside the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

What has changed in China’s South China Sea policy under Xi Jinping?

Li Nan sees that China has been using more aggressive “defensive” strategies in the South China Sea (SCS) under Xi Jinping, which includes the building of several artificial islands and the consolidation of administrative control of Chinese possessions and claims in the SCS. While policy insiders in China often see these actions as defensive, those who have a stake in the SCS have cause to disagree.
Soldiers gather in front of Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) fighter jets at Makung Air Force Base in Taiwan's offshore island of Penghu, 22 September 2020. (Yimou Lee/REUTERS)

The only way out for the Taiwan issue

While the current situation in the Taiwan Strait seems to be tense, how likely is it to boil over? Both sides are fully aware that if fighting does break out, other countries are likely to get involved, and the implications are enormous. That is why it is critical first and foremost, to work on finding an enduring political solution. Researcher and commentator Wei Da takes a closer look at the issue.
This handout picture taken on 15 July 2020 and released by Taiwan's Defense Ministry shows a warship launching a US-made Harpoon missile during the annual Han Kuang military drill from an unlocated place in the sea near Taiwan. (Handout/Taiwan Defense Ministry/AFP)

The median line of the Taiwan Strait: No longer a boundary for mainland China

Both Taiwan and mainland China have indicated that they would not fire the first shot and would only do so if provoked. Yet signs are increasing that both sides could be stumbling into war. Most recently, the PLA sent its jets over the median line of the Taiwan Strait over three days. Seth Cropsey, director of the Center for American Seapower at Hudson Institute, even offered a date for mainland China to strike. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan takes a closer look at this quagmire.
Two domestically-made armoured vehicles launch smoke grenades during the annual Han Kuang military drills in Taichung on 16 July 2020. - The military drills aimed to test how the armed forces would repel an invasion from China, which has vowed to bring Taiwan back into the fold — by force if necessary. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Chinese academic: A ‘reunification by force’ would be Taiwan's last

Chinese academic Shen Jinhao says that when it comes to Taiwan, the mainland will not start a fight it is not ready to finish. If it launches a “reunification by force”, Taiwan would be subdued in one fell swoop, even before the US has a chance to make a meaningful intervention.