Will China attack Taiwan?

Pretty much what China Guy (and others) have said…China doesn’t have the capabilities (read transport and logistics) to attempt a forced entry assault on Taiwan. So, no…not going to happen. As Furt said do a search…there have been numerous threads on this subject since the boards founding (usually each time things heat up between China and Taiwan).

I think China will play a waiting game in the hopes that eventually Taiwan will re-join willingly. Its even possible that a few decades from now if China gets its shit together and finally tosses out the communist baby and bathwater, if China continues to grow economically, etc, that Taiwan might just do it too. More than a snowballs chance in hell at least.


What would China gain from invading Taiwan, and what would it risk. It wouldn’t gain much- a bit of prosperity that it can just as easily cultivate in it’s own cities, and some pride. But it’d lose a great deal of International goodwill. It’s just not worth it.

If China was going to invade anything, I’d imagine they’d take a cue from us and choose a fairly distant (from major cities) oil-bearing region most of the world won’t get too worked up about. Khazakstan or something.

Hopefully you were joking. If not, a basic question (leaving aside how China would justify invading any ‘distant oil-bearing region’ of course) would be: How would China get a significant enough force TOO your distant oil-bearing region in order to invade them? How would they resupply that force?

We won’t get into whether any force China COULD put in the field outside its borders would be worth the transport and maintenance costs until those questions are answered. :stuck_out_tongue:


From an article by Asia Times:

I don’t know if Asia Times has any bias, but there analysis is based upon a pretty “unbiasable” fact: China lacks significant military sealift capacity.

The same way we or anyone else does. The same way they maintain their own distant borders. They do share a large border with Kazakhstan. It’s unlikely to happen, given that Russia supports Kazakhstan but an invasion of Kazakhstan would provide far more strategic benefits than an invasion of Taiwan.

But we (i.e. the US or UN) couldn’t get a large invasion force into the Kazakh oilfields without Russian help. The only reason that Gulf Wars 1 & 2 (or 2 &3 if you prefer) were possible for the US and the “coalition of the willing” is that there were friendly (or at least coercible) countries to stage from, and deep-water ports to resupply through. In the case of Kazakhstan, the southern border is mountainous, and the US & allies would have to go through Iran or Afghanistan, then Turkemistan, and Uzbekistan – not going to happen any time soon. To the north and west, Kazakhstan borders Russia, and no-one is invading via that route without Russian help.

As you say, the Chinese share a long border (1533km) with Kazakhstan. However, this is fairly mountainous – especially on the Chinese side – and hard to pass an invading army through (which is why there’s little problem for them to defend it against invasion from the west). There are few roads and no railway. The border is also more than 1500km from the majority of the Kazakh oilfields, which are in the west of Kazakhstan near the Caspian Sea and in fact closer to Moscow than to the Chinese border.

Even getting a large Chinese army to the China / Kazakhstan border in the first place is going to be a problem, since the province of Xinjiang is a long way from Chinese population centers, and supplying an army of invasion is going to be a massive effort even before it crosses into Kazakhstan. From there on, the army is in rough terrain facing what would undoubtedly be serious attacks by the Russians, with UN approval and aid almost certainly on the Russian side. There’s essentially no way (under any scenario that I could forsee) that a Chinese army could seize and hold the Kazakh oilfields; such an attempt at invasion might even trigger Russian use of tactical nukes against the invading army – although I don’t think that would even be necessary. The moment the Chinese entered Kazakhstan, the Russian tanks would be crossing the Volga, with a clear dash over to the oilfields as soon as the Kazakhs or UN gave them the green light.

I agree with you that China would love to have control of Kazakh oil (they’re already building pipelines to get the oil by globally-approved means, i.e. by buying it), but they’re not going to get it by force without something close to WWIII breaking out. Of course, decades from now when the oil stakes are even more serious and the power balances may have shifted, who knows? But it’s not going to happen without Russian acquiescence.

[Google Earth is an amazing resource for looking at scenarios such as this!]

Self-correction (I was relying on old information): a railroad between Urumqi (Xinjiang province, China) and Almaty (Kazakhstan) was completed in 1992. It’s still way too mountainous and winding (and easily attacked by air) to help a Chinese invasion, however.

Perhaps you are under the misunderstanding that ‘anyone else’ could do it too. I’d love to see a list of all the countries in the world capable of such a major military operation beyond their borders, in such rough and hostile country, far from their supply lines. Recall what happened to the Russians in Afghanistan…they shared a border too.

Even sharing a large border with Kazakhstan, and even assuming the Russians would just sit by with their thumb up their ass it is a scenerio that is beyond the current capabilities of the Chinese army to accomplish. They don’t have the necessary resources to project that kind of power in a sustained way…which they would need to do if they actually wanted to KEEP the oil fields.