Will China attack Taiwan?

I’m just curious what the “new” developements (over %9 growth, fourth largest economy in the world, etc) in China mean for Taiwan.

My girlfriend’s from Taiwan, and she never seems too worried about China attacking. However, one of the reasons she always gave me was that Taiwan’s economy was so good that China needed Taiwan, which gave Taiwan some leeway. Now, that’s not so much the case is it?

I know there’s the element of US-backing for Taiwan as well, but will that hold?

I know next to nothing about Taiwan or China. But from everything I had understood, Taiwan and China are almost like a partnership in business, enemies in name. China has a very fast growing economy, but on to some things I have been reading about increaded “rioting” in the countryside. So as China is becoming more intergrated with the Western world it is becoming harder to keep there form of communism in control.
Back when I was serving in the Army sometime in 95/96 during a particularly close training exercise, China was doing something a little to close to comfort for Taiwan. And that led to TPTB sending a few military vessels of ours to the straights.
Once again IMHO, I do not think China would risk shunning the very people who do business with it, making it a economical superpower. (The USA, GB, etc.) And by attacking Taiwan it risks doing just that.
I see a more peaceful, eventual merging of the two nations, as China becomes more democratic.
And then again, I am wrong frequently.

Everything I’ve read on this subject indicates that the PRC does not have the military capacity to conquer Taiwan. So why try?

What signs do you see that China is becoming more democratic?

My wife is from PRC and her parents live there, so we end up hearing a lot of news through them and from CCTV, Chinese television which we get via satellite. From what I’ve seen, there’s lots of sabre-rattling by the politicians on both sides of the strait but I don’t envision it ever going past that. Aside from the fact that they really don’t have the capability to mount an extended amphibious military campaign, China desperately wants to become a modern, developed nation and be accepted by the world’s top economic powers. Realistically, I don’t think they would do anything to jeapordize that, and I don’t think Taiwanese politicians are foolish enough to do something to force their hand. I agree with Abbie Normal, a peaceful partnership or reunification through diplomatic means seems far more likely to me.

This was in the past, as the most recent report on China has shown, they are spending a lot of this new money on military equipment and training. Your thinking was the thinking in the past, but that has changed.


I do not see much of a choice, actually. The people of China cannot live in a bubble, as the recent rioting has showed. IMHO information, leads to democracy. They have strayed from communism to become more capitalisticto become the economical powerhouse they are becoming.

Yes . . . but capitalism and democracy are two different things.

Oh I agree, totally. But I just used that as an example of China swaying from there ideology for there benefit. And I will add, that with capitalism they are becoming more intertwined with the rest of the world, which leads to information, which could very well lead to democracy. Its a snowball effect? I don’t know and as I said I could be wrong as I have no experience with foreign relations.

Wow that is totally opposite as I understand it. IIRC they could take over Taiwan in a heartbeat, and lose less troops then the US did in Iraq to date, that is if the US stays out of it.

The freer the market the freer the people.

Are we seeing true democratic reforms? No, and in fact Hu Jintao is if anything moving away from that direction. What we are seeing is greater freedoms, though. We may eventually see a Hong Kong-like China. Hong Kong, for all appearances, really isn’t THAT democratic, but it is fairly free.

Not without using nuclear weapons.

Taiwan is much more advanced when it comes to technology and military affairs than Iraq. China’s problem with invading Taiwan is how are they going to get their troops across the strait?

China’s rapid deployment is nothing like that of the United States, and even if it was this is a tall order.

China can try paradrops but it will also need to cross the strait via ships. And the thing about the United States fighting Iraq, is the U.S. had an unimaginable air-power supremacy. Our air forces could not be meaningfully touched by anything they have. Taiwan on the other hand definitely has the technology to shoot down huge numbers of Chinese planes that may try to drop paratroopers, and also has the technology to destroy huge numbers of Chinese ships as they cross the strait.

China could still do it, and in fact the invasion would probably be over fairly quickly, but the number of deaths would be enormous. And it would be Chinese versus Chinese deaths, no one really wins just like no one really wins in a Civil War because every death no matter which side it on just hurts the people as a whole.

Freedom and democracy are two very different things.

No doubt. The people under the British Kings in the 17th and early 18th century were pretty much not being ruled democratically. It wasn’t until after George III reign that the monarchy finally lost its last vestiges of power. George III before his illnesses rendered him unfit to do much of anything exercised veto power over anything he wanted in regards to Parliament, and he never had to accept a PM he didn’t want. Events could conspire to leverage him into choosing a PM he may not particularly like, but he still retained final say.

However they were fairly free.

Personally I’ll find China and it’s government a lot more easy to stomach if China becomes a populace that is fairly free but still ruled by an undemocratic paternalistic government. Many people in the far east actually don’t seem to be too concerned about democracy per se.

Democracy is really just a process, as far as governments go representative democracy is one of the most responsive to the people, and the one in which the people have a great deal of power and are thus well protected from governmental abuses (I’d actually argue representative democracy provides the most protection for the people, even more than direct democracies because in a DD you are ill-protected against faction and the mob.) However, a benevolent monarchy with some restraint on its powers, ala the late UK before it became truly democratic “isn’t that bad” relatively speaking.

Currently, though, the PRC can only achieve air superiority over Taiwan, and only at rather great cost. I’m not saying it can’t be done, just that by itself air superiority is only good for so much.

In the end it’s infantry that controls the land, and the people. All the other glamourous services - Air, Sea, Armor - all are there to support and put the PBI in place with his rifle.

What’s disturbing, and scary, is that the PRC is building up a deep-water navy, now, too. Which may come to include amphibious assault capacity. For the moment they don’t have that ability, and their domestic situation is such that taking the 20 years or so to build that ability is going to be a questionable return on investment, but that’s no guarantee that it won’t be tried.

After all, the “short, victorious war” is often seen as a way to shore up a troubled regieme, and given the rhetoric, if the PRC wants a conflict, it has one ready with Taiwan.

It will be a long time before China could successfully invade Taiwan. China could today cause hell with the shipping lanes and start an embargo. If China really wanted brinkmanship, it could take Xiao Jin Men island of the coast of Fujian - and could have probably any day in the past 2 decades. But they haven’t. Why not? Not in China’s best interest.

Don’t forget, it is highly likely that Taiwan has the bomb. MAD defense.

People in China have gained ever increasing freedom over the past 2 decades. It stems from economic growth. More prosperous people are, the more freedoms they tend to get.

China has many ongoing experiments with democracy at the local level. Certainly not on the federal level.

They probably have the component pieces disassembled in various locations , so to get around the nuclear proliferation treaty , but close enough to assemble them , when the overhead intelligence starts to show build ups in certain areas. While China may be able to do alot of things , I dont think being able to assemble a bolt out of the blue assault is one of them.


Yes but I think that is for use against the US.

The deep water subs are definitely pointed at the USN. I doubt that China really has any intent to build an amphib fleet to use against the US or even US territories. But, the only territorial target I can imagine the PRC using such a fleet to gain would be Taiwan.

There aren’t new trends. We’ve done this topic many times; run a search to get a full discussion without the wait…

Long story short: see post #3. The mainland doesn’t have the Air Force/Navy to do it. A blockade or a missle-lobbing campaign, maybe.

This sounds interesting. Could you elaborate?