China More Likely to Blockade Than Invade Taiwan, Say U.S. Experts
In Taiwan’s presidential election on the 13th, the pro-American and separatist Democratic Progressive Party succeeded in re-election. As tensions surrounding the Taiwan Strait escalate, a survey shows that China is more likely to blockade Taiwan than invade it.
The U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released the results of a survey of 52 U.S. experts on China and Taiwan relations and 35 Taiwan experts on the 22nd (local time).
Experts from the U.S. and Taiwan assessed that China is more likely to attempt to isolate and blockade Taiwan’s trade rather than launch a land invasion because China’s military capacity to invade Taiwan is currently limited.
Only 27% of U.S. and 17% of Taiwan experts responded positively to whether China can effectively invade Taiwan. At the same time, the rest assessed that China lacks the necessary capability.
On the other hand, 81% of U.S. and 60% of Taiwan experts responded that China has enough military capacity to block Taiwan.
91% of U.S. experts and 63% of Taiwan experts assessed that China can also isolate Taiwan under the leadership of judicial authorities such as the police rather than the military.
According to the analysis from CSIS, experts have low anticipations for China’s success in the invasion since landing operations require more troops and are complicated. If China invades Taiwan, there is a possibility of military intervention by the U.S. and its allies.
Experts did not believe that the 2027 deadline for modernizing the Chinese military, set by President Xi Jinping, would greatly influence the decision to invade Taiwan.
68% of U.S. experts and 58% of Taiwan experts predicted a high possibility of a crisis in the Taiwan Strait this year.
Experts believed a blockade would probably be the first move if China forcibly attempted to unite with Taiwan over the next five years.
The most common response was that Taiwan could withstand China’s blockade without U.S. military intervention for one to three months. Taiwan imports 98% of its energy and 65% of its food.
Meanwhile, Taiwan worries that the cascading effect of breaking off diplomatic relations will reappear after the new president’s election.
Immediately after Taiwan’s presidential election, Nauru, a small island nation in the South Pacific, declared the severance of diplomatic relations with Taiwan and the restoration of diplomatic ties with China.
As a result, Taiwan’s diplomatic countries have been reduced to 12 countries, including Guatemala, Paraguay, and Eswatini.
On the 22nd (local time), local media in Taiwan, including Taiwan News, reported, quoting recent remarks by Bikenibeu Paeniu, the Tuvalu ambassador to Taiwan, “Tuvalu may recognize China as a country.” Previously, Ambassador Paeniu told the Australian Weekly Weekend on the 19th that “there was a message from inside Tuvalu that the Tuvalu government will change the direction of diplomatic relations to China (not Taiwan) after the general election on the 26th.”
At one point, the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs dismissed the rumor of Tuvalu’s severance of diplomatic relations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “We value the strong friendship between Taiwan and Tuvalu based on universal values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law,” and “We will continue to strengthen cooperation in various fields and pursue common development in the future.”