By Zhang Junshe Source: Global Times
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
The New York Times on Sunday claimed that Taiwan is moving to “revamp its military” and “bolster its armed forces.” This will be done to “deter or defeat an invasion” from the Chinese mainland, “with or without American help.” However, Taiwan’s attempt to collude with the US and use military force to resist reunification is doomed to fail.
Taiwan’s military seriously lacks discipline and its combat capacity is also insufficient, despite the island’s increasing focus on military strength. Taiwan in August unveiled a 10.2 percent increase for planned defense spending in 2021. During Taiwan’s annual Han Kuang military exercises in July, a Bell OH-58D Kiowa helicopter crashed minutes after taking off, killing two. Also, two Taiwan marines were killed and another committed suicide during the exercises. This is hardly a strong force.
These frequent accidents show that there are serious problems in Taiwan’s military. These range from a lack of discipline, shortage of training time and insufficient professional skills. In total, these seriously affect their combat readiness. Taiwan’s military training and exercises have almost become a show or a child’s play. They cannot help improve the island’s real combat capability.
More importantly, many of these soldiers do not know whom to fight for. Nor do they know what they are fighting for. They have wavered on this fundamental question. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities are promoting Taiwan secessionism. This will seriously affect the situation across the Taiwan Straits. Many Taiwan military officers and soldiers believe that secessionism has no future. This is also the main reason why Taiwan’s military has somewhat lost their combat capability – it has lost its purpose and emotional anchor too.
On Monday, Taiwan released its so-called “China military power report 2020,” claiming that the People’s liberation Army (PLA) does not yet have the capability to wage an all-out war against the island of Taiwan. This is purely self-deception and is not even worth refuting. The DPP authorities stubbornly adhere to secessionism and have gone too far to collude with the US. They have become the biggest threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits. This being the case, using military force to accomplish so-called “Taiwan secession” is pure illusion. All Chinese people, including the people of Taiwan, will never agree to this wonton fantasy, this bonfire of the vanities.
Sadly, the Taiwan question has become a focus of the ongoing China-US competition. Washington has been hyping this question, and is trying to drive a wedge between Taiwan and the mainland. In August, Taiwan formally signed an agreement with the US arms firm Lockheed Martin to buy 66 F-16V jets. In this crazy deal, the US is blatantly violating the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués by providing military support to Taiwan. This shamelessly undermines China’s sovereignty.
Meanwhile, The fact is, selling Taiwan’s purchase of F-16V jets to Taiwan will not change the military situation across the Taiwan Straits. Nor will it help the DPP authorities with their silly ambitions of the so-called “Taiwan secession” plan. It is wishful thinking to try to achieve a military balance between Taiwan and the mainland. After all, how can Taiwan compare with the whole mainland?
Furthermore, the American Institute in Taiwan on Monday released two allegedly declassified cables which mention the “six assurances”. Among these are assurances that the US, “has not agreed to set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan,” and “has not agreed to revise the Taiwan Relations Act,” and “has not altered its position regarding sovereignty over Taiwan,” etc.
These are not effective legal texts at all. The US aims to provoke the mainland and give DPP authorities a false illusion that they can move even further on the road of Taiwan secessionism. For decades, the US has been using Taiwan as a pawn to contain the Chinese mainland. Such a trick will never succeed. Ever.
As the US and Taiwan continued to collude with military plans, the PLA responded by conducting massive military drills in the Taiwan Straits in August. These may be a rehearsal of some military actions that may be taken to achieve national reunification. The drills also send a strong warning signal to Taiwan secessionists. The PLA’s military modernization has developed rapidly in recent years. Its military standards have been greatly improved with momentous advancements. If any force attempts to separate Taiwan from China, the PLA will resolutely defeat it at all costs to defend national unity. The writing is plainly on the wall—as is the bottom line of their patience.
The author is a senior research fellow at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute. [email protected]