CHINA’s military planners are considering a range of options to take Taiwan — including strangling the island with a blockade and a lightning-fast 48-hour blitz, analysts believe.
The most alarming scenario involves a massive land, sea and air attack to complete the invasion within two days – that’s how long the West would calculate to respond.
Fear of invasion runs high after China surrounded Taiwan with masses of military equipment engaged in menacing war games.
They are intended as a show of force for the US — but also to wear down Taiwan’s defense strength and test Western resolve, observers say.
Whether US-led allies would rush to Taiwan’s aid — and how quickly — is said to be the top consideration for Beijing’s strategists.
Four possible scenarios discussed include plans for missile attacks and land grabs ending on the verge of a full-scale invasion.
These would put pressure on Taiwan and test whether Joe Biden really has a war stomach after his promises to defend the island.
And if China decides to take Taiwan, it could aim to mount “a lightning-fast 48-hour offensive” that will prompt the West to respond, diplomatic sources told The Sunday Telegraph.
It is believed that the crucial window of opportunity for action was derived from Russia’s failure to capture Kyiv and overthrow the government of Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
According to the report, Beijing was closely monitoring events in Ukraine, noting that it took Western leaders two days to respond to President Vladimir Putin’s Feb. 24 attack.
Diplomatic sources say President Xi believes “significant” Western support could have been given to Ukraine during this period and does not want to give Taiwan the same opportunity.
Beijing has intensified military exercises near the island as fears of an imminent invasion mount.
Tensions between the two nations have reached a boiling point in recent days, with China continuing to flex its military muscles, launching jets into Taiwan’s airspace and firing missiles in intense drills.
Beijing has essentially surrounded the island – which it considers a breakaway province – with 68 jets and 13 warships, Taiwan’s defense ministry said.
Over the past few days, more than 100 warplanes and 10 warships have been the focus of live fire military drills across Taiwan.
China also issued a chilling warning to Taiwan by releasing footage of field hospital samples – suggesting it is preparing for mass casualties.
Experts say the four scenarios could develop sequentially or in parallel, depending on the West’s response.
The goal is to force Taiwan’s leaders to accept Beijing’s rule while avoiding the outbreak of war with the US.
The first scenario involves ever-tighter pressures on Taiwan that begin similar to the current exercises.
The island could be crippled financially, economically and operationally if Beijing extends military exercises for an extended period.
An effective naval and air blockade would halt valuable exports and cut off aid from the US and Japan.
Although there would be an international outcry and a more robust response is considered unlikely.
Meanwhile, Chinese forces could use camouflage exercises to prepare for attacks on Taiwan in the best possible positions.
China on Thursday launched its biggest-ever military drills around Taiwan in a show of force that straddles key international shipping lanes.
Taiwan has been on high alert after China promised “punishment” in response to a visit to the island this week by US House Speaker Nancy Polosi – the first speaker in 25 years.
The wargame drills began at 12:00 p.m. (04:00 GMT) on Thursday and included “live fire”, according to Chinese state media.
Reports have surfaced of small projectiles flying into the sky around Pingtan, followed by white plumes of smoke and loud booming noises.
Beijing has long held that small islands in Fujian province are part of its own territory.
Some are less than six miles from mainland China, including Kinmen, an island chain east of the coast of the city of Xiamen in China, and the Matsu Islands northwest of Taiwan.
At little cost, China could seize all or some of the islands, which are home to about 20,000 people, to gauge the West’s response.
The US-Taiwan Relations Act considers these islands part of Taiwan, so Washington may feel compelled to intervene.
But strategists judge that Biden might not want to risk all-out war over such small islands.
And any response without military support would embolden Xi to go further – like Putin annexing Crimea in 2014.
FLASH OF AIR
China has already sent dozens of warplanes into Taiwan’s airspace while continuing to flex its military muscles.
According to the Defense Ministry in Taipei, communist forces sent the fighter jets over the “center line” running down the Strait of Taiwan on Thursday.
And they fired a barrage of ballistic missiles across the island in a menacing display of firepower.
Beijing may choose limited punitive missile and jet strikes to weaken Taiwan by targeting coastal defenses, radar installations and airfields, analysts say.
It is believed that major population centers would be shunned – at least initially – in hopes of bringing Taiwan to the negotiating table without provoking a Western reaction.
China could launch a massive attack on Taiwan that could be even more devastating than Russia’s attack on Ukraine, experts have warned.
In the event of a full-scale attack, China would aim to deploy troops at strategic points along the 70-mile Taiwan Strait.
Panic would be felt across the country should cyber warfare be deployed if Taiwan’s communications were cut.
Hypersonic missiles like the DF-17 could be used to hit “moving targets at sea”.
Military analysts fear high-tech drone swarms could send up to a million soldiers, warships and bombers into action.
At sea, the Chinese surface fleet and submarines would attempt to destroy Taiwan’s navy and any fast attack ships that might try to stop the advancing troop transports or lay mines at strategic landing sites.
The Chinese Navy would also act as a shield to the north and east, cutting off potential reinforcements from Japan or the US.
The goal would be to overwhelm Taiwan’s defenses as quickly as possible and break the will of the population to resist.
An international resonance is more or less guaranteed.
But if they can capture the island within the two-day window, it will be too late for the West to stop them, Beijing planners are said to believe.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5946480/four-ways-china-take-taiwan-lightning-invasion/ The four ways China could take Taiwan: from slow blockade pressure to 48-hour blitz, “West doesn’t have time to react that quickly”