Is Taipei prepared for the unthinkable?
In military terms, a “decapitation” strike refers to the practice of targeting a country’s top leadership in the opening hours of a war — cutting off the head of an enemy army and its political system. Taiwan, situated close to China with its many ways of carrying out such an attack, is vulnerable.
Remote though it may seem, Taiwan takes the possibility seriously enough to treat defending against decapitation to be among its top military priorities under its “resolute defense” doctrine. China also seems to prepare to do it, at least as a way of rattling Taiwan and putting it under pressure. In 2015, Chinese troops drilled in Inner Mongolia at a base built to resemble the Taiwanese Presidential Palace.
That exercise could have been a form of psychological warfare. But Taiwan’s military can never be too sure and it has a contingency plan in place were China to aim right at Taiwan’s political leadership — the defense of which falls to the Republic of China Marine Corps’ 66th Brigade based in New Taipei City, a region surrounding Taipei proper. One of the 66th’s battalions is based within the capital city itself at a military college.
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