If things got that "sporty", I'm sure the build-up to it would draw more than one SSN into the area. Those sharks change the entire calculus of how things could go down....The Taiwanese Island Fortress That Could Halt A Chinese Invasion
Aerospace & Defense
July 10, 2020,08:00am EDT
There are only so many ways for China to invade Taiwan. The country’s main island is mountainous and rocky on its east coast. The good beaches are on the west coast, in particular along Taiwan’s southwest plain.
If China invades, it’s most likely going to land troops on that plain. But there’s at least one big obstacle to that approach. A fortified Taiwanese island that looms like a jagged speed-bump in the middle of the Taiwan Strait.
To be clear, it in theory is possible for a Chinese invasion fleet to directly attack Taiwan’s capital Taipei, in the country’s north, by sailing straight into the city’s port. Chinese planners reportedly have drawn up plans for just such an operation.
Ian Easton, senior director at the pro-Taiwan Project 2049 Institute and author of The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia, gamed out a Taipei-grab in a 2018 article.
“It’s the ultimate nightmare scenario,” Easton wrote. Fortunately for Taiwan, however, Taipei is heavily-defended so an assault “relie(s) on stealth”—and stealth is hard to pull off when attacker and defender lie a mere hundred miles from each other.
That makes the southern approach less risky for China. Everyone knows it. Everyone is planning for it. Analysts have had so long to study the problem that they’ve identified all the likely invasion beaches. That of course means the Chinese and Taiwanese militaries also know the beaches.
Shortly after Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen landslide reelection in January, the Chinese military apparently leaked a photo depicting soldiers studying maps of Taiwan.
Invasion routes are clearly marked on the maps. One of the maps shows Chinese forces landing in southern Taiwan, but only after seizing Penghu, a Taiwanese archipelago of 90 islets that lies 30 miles from the main island.
China has little choice but to capture or suppress Penghu before invading Taiwan proper. Taiwanese forces on the archipelago operate a long-range radar plus Hsiung Feng II anti-ship cruise missiles and Sky Bow III surface-to-air missiles. If a Chinese invasion fleet bypassed Penghu without destroying its garrison, the fleet would be subject to missile strikes at its flanks.
It’s not for no reason that Paul Huang, a researcher with the Taipei-sponsored Institute for National Defense and Security Research, early this year described Penghu’s as the most important of Taiwan’s three major island garrisons.
If China failed to suppress or capture Penghu, the main invasion force “might be obliged to abort the operation, making an assault on Taiwan one of history’s nonevents—like Hitler’s invasion of England,” analysts Piers Wood and Charles Ferguson wrote in a 2001 edition of the U.S. Naval War College Review.
But taking the islands could be hard for China. Their 60,000-strong permanent garrison includes an army brigade with 70 upgraded M-60 tanks and an artillery battalion. The Taiwanese navy routinely deploys a missile destroyer in the waters around Penghu. The air force practices staging nimble Indigenous Defense Fighters to the archipelago’s airport.
A major beach-defense exercise in 2017 involved 3,900 Taiwanese troops, IDF and F-16 fighters, AH-64, CH-47 and UH-60 helicopters, RT-2000 multiple-launch rocket systems, tanks, 155-millimeter and 105-millimeter howitzers and teams firing Javelin anti-tank missiles at offshore targets.
The Taiwanese fleet operates just two front-line submarines, but in the event of war it’s a safe bet that at least one of them would prowl near Penghu.
Taiwanese marine corps tanks participate in a landing exercise.
Republic of China Ministry of Defense
To be clear, Beijing has the power to take Penghu. China’s navy possesses an amphibious flotilla with eight modern assault ships and dozens of large landing craft. China’s marine corps is tens of thousands strong. The Chinese air force and rocket force could bombard Penghu with literally thousands of bombs and missiles.
But every hour the Chinese military spends fighting for Penghu is an hour Taiwan could use to deploy its active forces toward its southern beaches and mobilize its two-million-person reserves.
The U.S. Navy could use that same hour to shift two or three aircraft carrier battle groups toward Taiwan. By the time Chinese troops raised Beijing’s flag over Penghu, American bombers could be en route with loads of stealth cruise missiles.
In any invasion scenario, time is not on China’s side. “Initiating a war over Taiwan in the face of both internal and external threats is the greatest risk imaginable,” wrote Drew Thompson, a researcher at the National University of Singapore.
Penghu embodies that risk. Capturing the island could clear the way for China finally to “reunify” Taiwan with the mainland. Failing to capture Penghu could, perhaps for a very long time, end Beijing’s reunification-by-force gambit.
There are only so many ways for China to invade Taiwan. The east coast of the main island is mountainous and rocky. The good beaches are on the west coast. But there’s one big obstacle to landing forces there: a fortified island that looms like a jagged speed-bump in the middle of the Taiwan Strait.www.forbes.com
USAF RC-135W is leaving the #SouthChinaSea around 18:40, whose coming trajectory is unclear, while USAF tanker KC-135T was detected in the same airspace earlier this day around 10:00, implying that the former might have come since then, July 9. pic.twitter.com/uw1bSQMOcD
— SCS Probing Initiative (@SCS_PI) July 9, 2020
US Navy EP-3E (#AE1D91), again, approached the offshore airspace over Guangdong, as close as about 50nm, July 8.
On the late evening of July 7 and early morning of July 8, three P-8As were also spotted near #BashiChannel. (one around 22 pm, another 3 am, the other 5 am) pic.twitter.com/qWzm4gG2Jx
— SCS Probing Initiative (@SCS_PI) July 8, 2020
"The US military conducts 3 to 5 sorties to the #SouthChinaSea every day," the SCS Probing Initiative noted in a Tweet on July 7. China's Peking University in Beijing hosts the SCS Probing Initiative, which is, perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the most active entities tracking American military aviation activity, as well as that of U.S. military ships, in the South China Sea and elsewhere in the Pacific. The project does also tracks other countries' military activities in the region, too.1 EP-3E,1 P-3C, 1 P-8A, 1 RC-135W and 1 KC-135R, July 7. Also some reminders for media : 1) The US military conducts 3 to 5 sorties to the #SouthChinaSea every day, but not every time brings big news. 2) We collect and share this data for research purposes, not for making news. pic.twitter.com/cCU6avRkbx
— SCS Probing Initiative (@SCS_PI) July 7, 2020
It's not clear what the exact reasons for this might be, but it is likely due to a confluence of factors.On, July 3, the US military just set a recent record for reconnaissance in the #SouthChinaSea today. A total of 6 large reconnaissance aircraft including 4 P-8As, 1 EP-3E and 1 RC-135W, plus 2 refuelling tankers. Maybe there were more which could not be seen with open source. pic.twitter.com/EuTn612OSd
— SCS Probing Initiative (@SCS_PI) July 3, 2020
Beyond these more immediate events in and around the South China Sea, there's definitely no shortage of potential items of interest for the U.S. military to point those sensors at in this region. The Bashi Channel serves as an important passageway from the South China Sea in the broader Pacific to the East, including for Chinese submarines. Earlier this year, there were reports that the PLAN had deployed two new Type 094 Jin class ballistic missile submarines, which would have brought the total size of the fleet to six subs.
Today at 1:29 AM
Beijing is definitely going to loose their crap over this one.The Sunday Express has learnt that Gourangalal Das, currently Joint Secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs, will be the next envoy to Taiwan.indianexpress.com
India posting key diplomat to Taiwan amid China tension
Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: July 12, 2020 8:41:02 am
This comes at a time when there are calls within the strategic community for upgradation of New Delhi-Taipei ties. (AP/File)
In what is being read as a strong impetus to its ties with Taiwan amid the border tensions with China, India has chosen a senior diplomat handling Indo-US relations as its new envoy to Taipei.
The Sunday Express has learnt that Gourangalal Das, currently Joint Secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs, will be the next envoy to Taiwan.
A formal announcement on the appointment is expected soon. This comes at a time when there are calls within the strategic community for upgradation of New Delhi-Taipei ties. China and the US have also been sparring over Taiwan and the South China Sea.
India does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan because of its One-China policy. It has an office in Taipei to carry out diplomatic functions. It operates under the name of India-Taipei Association, and Das will be its new Director General. He will replace Sridharan Madhusudhanan, also a career diplomat.
Taiwan too has effected a change of guard. East Asian and Pacific Affairs Director-General Baushuan Ger has been named Taiwan’s representative to India, replacing Tien Chung-Kwang who was on the post for seven years at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in India.
Incidentally, Sun Weidong, China’s ambassador to India, in a statement Friday, underlined: “We need to respect and accommodate mutual core interests and major concerns, adhere to the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.”
In Beijing’s book, any pro-active step by a foreign country with regard to Taiwan, Hong Kong, South China Sea, Tibet and Xinjiang are considered “sensitive” in nature.
India has so far adhered to the One China policy although in December 2010, during then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit, it did not mention support for the policy in the joint communique.
And in 2014, when Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, he invited Chung-Kwang Tien, Taiwan’s representative to India, along with Lobsang Sangay, Sikyong (President) of the Central Tibetan Administration (the Tibetan government-in-exile) to his swearing-in ceremony.
In the MEA, a Joint Secretary who handles India’s ties with the US is considered a key official, together with those dealing with China and Pakistan.
The appointment of Das as envoy to Taiwan comes weeks after the BJP asked two of its MPs, Meenakshi Lekhi and Rahul Kaswan, to attend via virtual mode the swearing-in ceremony of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on May 20 – a fortnight after the start of the standoff with China on the Line of Actual Control.
From the 1999 batch of the Indian Foreign Service, Das, who is fluent in Mandarin, was in Beijing between 2001 and 2004. He returned as First Secretary (Political) in 2006 and remained there until 2009.
He had also served as a Deputy Secretary handling External Affairs in the Prime Minister’s Office during the tenure of Manmohan Singh. He was retained for the transition in 2014.
As Counsellor (Political) at the Indian embassy in Washington DC, he played a key role during the Prime Minister’s visit in June 2017 when he met US President Donald Trump.
Das returned to New Delhi and was tasked by then Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to set up the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies, the in-house think tank to study China post-Doklam.
During his stint as Joint Secretary (Americas), Indo-US ties grew, including the revival of the Quadrilateral mechanism (between India, US, Japan and Australia).