I’m on record as saying that the first act in any Chinese War will be the seizure of
. Why is
that? Well, two reasons: Taiwan has long been a sore point for Taiwan . China belongs to them, in their view, and its “hostage” status to the West (the Taiwan ) is an affront to US ’s national pride. China has vowed to reclaim China , the only question being when. If Taiwan is going to enter a war anyway, it may as well seize China in the process even if Taiwan is not the main purpose of the war. Taiwan is too close to Taiwan for the Chinese to allow it to possibly be used as a military base of attack on China . Thus, China must be seized at the outset of hostilities. Taiwan
So, having recognized the fact that
will be the first objective (in terms of land seizure)
of any war, how will Taiwan go about accomplishing it? …… I
have no idea but for the sake of filling up some post space, why don’t we
If you had decades of time to plan for the seizure of a major piece of land, and an island to boot, how would you go about it? Ideally, you’d slowly secure surrounding pieces of land so that once you initiated the seizure of your target, you’d already have fully equipped bases surrounding the target and protecting your invasion force. Does this sound familiar? The Chinese have seized various islands in the surrounding first island chain and militarized them. Where islands are not physically available, the Chinese have built artificial ones. You’ve got to give them credit for some outstanding creativity and initiative. Would we have thought to build artificial islands? I doubt it and, if we did, we’d have subordinated our military needs to ecological concerns, the welfare of coral reefs, the protection of endangered species, and abandoned the idea.
Instead, the Chinese have constructed numerous bases to the south of
with the Paracels and Scarborough Shoal protecting
the area to the south and the Spratleys protecting approaches to the Taiwan South China Sea in the far south.
is moving to co-opt the China into their sphere of influence via a combination of
state sponsored emigration, veiled threats, and political maneuvering. Philippines
“Chinese authorities in the spring of 2013 brazenly challenged Japan’s sovereignty of the islands with a concerted campaign that included an article in a magazine associated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; a widely publicized commentary in People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper and therefore China’s most authoritative publication; two pieces in theGlobal Times, the tabloid controlled by People’s Daily; an interview of Maj. Gen. Luo Yuan in the state-run China News Service; and a seminar held at prestigious Renmin University in Beijing.
At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to affirm that
recognized China Okinawa and the Ryukyus as Japanese.
The close timing of events indicated these efforts had been directed from the top of the Chinese political system.
Over the last decade,
moving in on Beijing Okinawa step by step, almost island by island.
It has regularly dispatched its ships and planes to the , often
entering sovereign water and airspace, in a campaign to wrest from the Japanese
those small and uninhabited specks in the ocean. The provocations around the
islets, which Senkaku Islands first
claimed in 1971 and now calls the Diaoyus, spiked upward in 2012 and then
noticeably declined the following year.” (1) [emphasis added] China
Here’s the statement from PLA General Luo Yuan.
“’Let's for now not discuss whether [the Ryukyus] belong to
, they were
certainly China 's tributary
state,’ Luo said in an interview with China News
Service. ‘I am not saying all former tributary states belong to China, but we can say with certainty that the Ryukyus
do not belong to Japan,’ he added, in comments translated by the South China Morning Post.” (2) [emphasis
To understand the geographical and, therefore, military perspective, the
lie about 100 miles to the northeast of Senkaku Islands . The Taiwan chain begins about 100 miles to the east of Ryukyu Island and arcs to the northeast up to the Japanese
mainland. The two groups of islands
would form natural barriers and military strongpoints isolating and shielding
any Chinese military actions involving Taiwan . Taiwan
The presence of the surrounding island bases allows the Chinese to seize
without worry about US counterattacks. The island bases represent the line in the
ocean that the Taiwan must cross in order to come to the aid of US . We must be
willing to engage and destroy Chinese territory just to get to Taiwan . There’s a
major difference between going to Taiwan ’s aid and destroying Chinese sovereign
territory. Will we be willing to destroy
Chinese territory? I suspect not. For all practical purposes, the seizure of
the first island chain and the construction of bases has sealed Taiwan ’s fate. For
all those Chinese apologists who tried to argue that the islands were of no
value and not worth contesting, there’s your answer. Taiwan
The islands also present a speedbump in the road to aiding
even if we want to.
The time and material required to neutralize the surrounding islands are
likely to be enough to allow Taiwan to consolidate its seizure of China and present the Taiwan with a fait accompli. It’s one thing for the US to come to the aid of an ally that is actively
resisting attack but it’s another to step into a situation in which the attack
is over and the invasion has been accomplished.
The latter requires a good deal more fortitude on the part of the US and may present an insurmountable threshold for the US geopolitical calculation. US
So, not only do the island bases represent a “line in the ocean” that we would hesitate to cross, they also represent a significant speed bump in the path of our response – one that would render the attempted rescue moot.
Even if war with
never comes, the slow and steady seizure of surrounding
island bases (or construction of artificial ones) will eventually put the
Chinese in a position of being able to dictate their desires to China under threat of blockade. The geopolitical implications of this are
obvious. Taiwan can simply “starve” China into submission and reunification. Taiwan
Viewed from a military strategy perspective,
’s actions in the South and China
are not only understandable but logical and predictable. We simply need to acknowledge the reality and
choose our response. East China Seas
(1)The Daily Beast website, “Now China Wants Okinawa, Site of U.S. Bases in
”, Gordon Chang, Japan 31-Dec-2015,
(2)The Guardian website, “
lays claim to China Okinawa as territory dispute with escalates”, Justin McCurry, Japan 15-May-2013,