Why China Plans to Invade Taiwan

    Ian Easton

    Security, Asia

    J-10 fighter jet aerobatic team of China Air Force fly in formation during a rehearsal on the outskirts of Beijing

    China’s rapid military buildup is focused on acquiring the capabilities needed to annex, or conquer, Taiwan.

    A Chinese diplomat in Washington recently threatened that China would invade Taiwan if the U.S. Navy sent a ship to visit the democratic island, something that Congress has called upon the Pentagon to do in 2018. Is this just empty rhetoric? Or does it reflect Beijing’s actual intentions? It’s actually a bit of both.

    According to leaked Chinese military documents (analyzed here), Taiwan stands to lose more from the rise of China as a twenty-first-century superpower than any other country in the world. Indeed, China’s emergence as the world’s second largest political, economic and military power threatens the interests of many nations, but only Taiwan has its life at stake. Only Taiwan is held at risk of seeing its trade lines severed, its cities bombed and its shores invaded. Only Taiwan faces the possibility of having its president assassinated and its democracy destroyed. China’s authoritarian government challenges many countries in many ways, but it only has war plans for the invasion and occupation of Taiwan.

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